Baltimore man, 72, seriously hurt when plane crashes near airpark State police attribute accident to pilot error in failed landing

November 20, 1997|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore pilot was seriously injured yesterday when his single-engine plane crashed into dense woods about 400 yards east of the runway at Clearview Airpark near Westminster.

Jerome Lamprecht, 72, of the 1200 block of W. Lake Ave. was taken by state MedEvac helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was in serious but stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said last night.

No one on the ground was injured, state police said.

Federal Aviation Administration officials were called to investigate, but police said pilot error appeared to have caused the crash at 2: 18 p.m.

Lowell Seal, who has owned and operated Clearview Airpark for about 25 years, said he was standing near the runway when a red and white Beechcraft Bonanza began to land downwind, meaning it approached the 1,845-foot runway from the northwest with a tail wind of about 8 to 10 knots.

Experienced pilots land into the wind, Seal said. He said the plane's tires were smoking, indicating Lamprecht was braking before he aborted the landing toward the southeast end of the runway and tried to take off again.

"The plane didn't have enough airspeed to clear the woods," Seal said.

The four-seater plane clipped trees about 150 yards from the end of the runway and continued skimming trees for another 250 yards until it struck a tree about 50 feet in the air and slid to the ground, landing on its wheels.

Seal said Lamprecht seemed unhurt at first and walked away from the crash.

"He maybe had a busted nose," Seal said.

However, Lamprecht began to experience difficulty from a head injury and was flown to Shock Trauma as a precaution, said Cpl. Andy Anders of the Westminster barracks of the state police.

Access beyond the airpark and to the crash site was blocked to all but police and rescue workers by the owner of the property adjacent to the airpark, Anders said.

The Beechcraft was carrying an estimated 40 gallons of fuel, which was leaking, Anders said.

"The leak is contained, environmental officials were contacted, and firefighters are cleaning up what little [fuel] did spill," Anders said.

Clearview Airpark, built about 1960, is privately owned, but open to the public, Seal said. He said it is one of 19 privately owned airports in the state. Only 35 airports, including the 19, are available for public use in Maryland, he said.

The last plane crash at Clearview was similar to yesterday's accident, Seal said.

It occurred Sept. 15, 1996, when an Eldersburg pilot and his 15-year-old son, who were returning from an air show at Martin State Airport in Middle River, stumbled away from their single-engine Piper Cherokee after it crashed into trees off the end of the runway.

Earlier that day, a plane that had taken off from Clearview made an emergency landing on Route 27 south of Westminster.

Pub Date: 11/20/97

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