Created on Saturday, 08 June 2013 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
A pilot and his passenger aboard a single-engine airplane escaped serious injury after a Saturday afternoon incident near the Bellefontaine Regional Airport, authorities report.
A trooper of the Marysville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol investigates a plane that crash into a cornfield just off the runway of the Bellefontaine Municipal Airport on Saturday afternoon. Neither the pilot nor the passenger were seriously injured. (EXAMINER PHOTO | T.J. HUBBARD)
Toshiya Kanda, 47, of Dublin, Ohio, was practicing “touch-and-go” landings prior to the crash, which occurred in a cornfield south of the airport, airport administrator Steve Buchenroth said.
During the last pass, the plane landed on its nose wheel and the propeller hit the runway.
While there was damage to the propeller, the 2001 Diamond Eclipse DA-20C1, which was owned by Mr. Buchenroth’s Midwest Corporate Air, continued to fly.
Mr. Buchenroth said Mr. Kanda was on a return pattern when the engine failed because of internal damage from the propeller strike.
Mr. Kanda, who just recently earned his license, decided to land in a cornfield rather than try to make it to the airport.
“He did a wonderful job with the soft field landing,” Mr. Buchenroth said. “He kept the front wheel up as long as he could.
“Whenever you lose a plane, you go out expecting to find the worse. It’s relief when you see him standing outside the plane waving at you.”
Replacing the engine and propeller would cost more than $25,000, he said, and closer inspection revealed more damage back at the hangar.
Mr. Buchenroth and his crews pulled the wings from the plane and found stress damage that will increase the damage estimates.
It is possible the plane will be a total loss under the terms of his insurance.
Despite the financial loss, Mr. Buchenroth said, “I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. No one was hurt.”
Mr. Kanda and his passenger, Koji Sekita, 55, also of Dublin, were uninjured and both were using the required safety equipment in the two-seat airplane.
Troopers of the Marysville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol investigated the crash and officials of the Federal Aviation Administration were set to review the crash at 10 a.m. Monday.
CORRECTION: This article has been updated to reflect the fact the aircraft landed into a cornfield.