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News Article - July 07, 2007

Cessna that left Spitfire Aerodrome crashes  
  OLDMANS TOWNSHIP A four-seat light-aircraft crashed into a field behind H. Gene Perry and Son's Farm on Perkintown road around 4:30 p.m. Friday after taking off from the Spitfire Aerodrome on Airport Lane. Woodstown State Trooper Christinzio reported that Hugh Hunton of Keithsville, La., and Jon Norwood of Damon, Tex., took off in a Cessna 177 Cardinal from the aerodrome intending to fly to Houston, Tex. After only flying for about 200 yards after take off, the pilots noticed the aircraft was losing power.

   With the plane stalling out over Interstate 295, Hunton steered the aircraft to a field of asparagus behind the farm and performed a crash landing. Neither Hunton or Norwood were injured in the crash and both walked away from the wreck. Both pilots declined to comment on the incident, saying they were not legally able to say anything until the Federal Aviation Administration performed an investigation.

   Later efforts Friday night to contact the pilots by Today's Sunbeam were unsuccessful. Private owner of the aerodrome Jack Fetsko would not comment on the crash as well. The aircraft, which Christinzio said Norwood had just purchased, suffered considerable damage. The right wing was completely bent at a 90-degree angle and pieces of the aircraft were scattered all over the field. A piece of the windshield was found about 200 feet from the downed plane.

   There was no fire upon impact or any fuel spills. Neither the plane nor the broken parts could be moved from the field until the FAA investigated the scene and declared it safe. Christinzio reported Norwood and Hunt both said all pre-flight safety and maintenance tests had been conducted successfully.

   About 4,295 Cessna 177 Cardinal's had been produced between 1968 and 1978, according to Airliners.net, meaning the plane was at least 29-years-old. While nobody saw the airplane crash into the field, John Bongiovanni, 23, said he heard the plane making a funny noise from his backyard and a loud crash when it went down.

   "It sounded really weird when it was flying overheard," he said. "I heard a really loud, awful noise when it crashed. I live right across the street and came running over." Eddie Torres, an employee on the farm, said he heard it as well but was working in the farm's garage and didn't notice anything odd until the fire company and ambulance pulled up to the field.

   Both the Pedricktown Volunteer Fire Co. and Pedricktown Fire Aid and Rescue Squad were dispatched to the scene and remained for about 30 minutes. As the incident happened after-hours, the FAA could not be contacted for more details on what caused the crash.

Source - Today's Sunbeam



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