A powered parachute crashed in a field minutes after takeoff last weekend at a private Carroll County airport, injuring the 55-year-old pilot, authorities said yesterday.
About 7:10 p.m. Sunday, Geoffrey Ronald Jobe of the 13000 block of Jarrettsville Pike in Phoenix in Baltimore County lost control of his two-seater Destiny powered parachute at the privately owned Keymar Airpark. Jobe stored his craft in an airport hangar.
He was listed in serious condition yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he had undergone surgery on his ankle and foot. He also had stitches on his upper lip.
A powered parachute resembles a hang glider but contains one or two seats and is motorized.
A parachute forms a wing over the pilot's seat. The craft, which is steered with foot levers, can reach a top speed of about 30 mph.
Keymar Airpark, in the 1500 block of Francis Scott Key Highway in Keymar in northwest Carroll County, is a popular takeoff point for powered parachutists because of its grassy field, airport owners Dennis and Brenda Young said.
The Youngs - both experienced powered-parachute pilots - were among those who witnessed the accident.
The steering lines of Jobe's craft became tangled, said Brenda Young, causing him to dip into a severe turn before hitting the field.
She said Jobe was wearing a helmet and seat belts and had reduced his speed on the way down so he did not hit at full speed. The impact was hard enough to knock off the nose- wheel at the front of his craft, she said.
"It smacked him in the face," Young said, adding that it was fortunate Jobe did not hit a thick iron trash bin 8 feet from where he crashed. "We're real thankful it wasn't worse."
State police and emergency medical crews responded to the accident and flew Jobe to the hospital. Troopers turned the investigation over to the Federal Aviation Administration, which declined further involvement.
"We don't investigate ultralights," said FAA spokesman Jim Peters. "They're not considered an aircraft."
FAA regulations state that ultralight craft "are not required to meet the airworthiness certification standards specified for aircraft."