Man crashes experimental plane beside runway during landing attempt

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Robert Scott Winder of Lawrence County, PA crashed his experimental aircraft at 11 a.m. Friday at the Grove City Regional Airport while attempting a landing.

He was flown to UPMC general hospital in Pittsburgh, and his condition is not yet known, though according to airport manager Doug Thomas he was conscious and responsive upon being removed from the wreckage.

Mr. Thomas stated that an airport assistant witnessed the crash, and that medics were on the scene "almost immediately". Mr. Winder was in the process of conducting test flights of his home-built "volksplane" aircraft when he drifted wide of the runway during a landing attempt, said Mr. Thomas.

The wreckage of the single engine, single seat plane could be seen in a ditch beside the runway, with much of the plane still intact, except for the engine which was laying on the ground beside the plane

Mr. Winders is around 80 years of age and is the president of his local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, according to vice president of the association Jim Gaiter.

A member of the aircraft association, Bob Koontz, said Mr. Winder had been working on constructing the plane for roughly a decade.

"Scott had at least 10 years into that thing," Mr. Koontz, 65, of Mercer said. "It's an act of love."

Noel Dean, a flight instructor who said he gave Mr. Winder his flight review several years ago in a Cessna 150, said he knew Mr. Winder's experimental aircraft.

"I saw it. I even flew it. I did not like it," Mr. Dean said. He declined to elaborate, saying he was not sure if what he did not like had to do with his piloting or the plane.

"It's had the record for many years of being easy to fly and docile," Mr. Dean said of the particular type of aircraft Mr. Winder built. "But they all fly different. Not like jumping in a car."

Mr. Dean, who is 72, said he did not believe age was a factor in the crash

Mr. Gaiter said that Mr. Winder had recently refurbished the plane that he was piloting, and that he had at least 40 years of experience building and piloting experimental aircraft.

The FAA released a statement Friday saying that they will investigate the crash.

First Published July 24, 2014 8:00 PM


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