No passengers on board; Transportation Safety Board to investigate cause

CBC News 

A man has been airlifted to hospital after a plane crash at the Stanley Airport in Hants County.

RCMP, EHS and various fire crews in the area responded to the call at 10:19 a.m. Sunday.

The male pilot was the only person on board the small, single-engine plane, RCMP spokesperson Andrew Joyce said Sunday.

Joyce said the man’s injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Mike Whitehead, the safety officer for the Stanley Sport Aviation Association, said it was a single-engine plane flown by a “very experienced” local pilot. 

He said the plane went off the runway while the pilot was practising a “touch-and-go” procedure, where a plane lands and then takes off again. 

“For some reason, the airplane veered off the runway … off to the right-hand side and into the grass,” he said.

Whitehead said touch-and-go exercises are a common way to practise takeoffs and landings, and even experienced pilots do them.

The pilot involved in the crash was “banged up a bit,” said Whitehead, but was conscious and lucid while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. The plane was substantially damaged.

Whitehead said there were people there who responded right away and RCMP, fire services and paramedics responded quickly.

Any investigation will be led by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

In an email, TSB spokesperson Julie Leroux said the board is aware of the incident. She said they are assessing and are not planning to deploy at this time.

She said the aircraft is a Piel Emeraude, which is a home-built design. She said the board would not release information about the pilot’s medical status.

‘We’re taking it seriously’

The Stanley Sport Aviation Association is made up of about 100 members, Whitehead said. The airport is mainly used by small private aircraft.

Whitehead said the plane involved was “built decades ago,” but he described it as a reliable plane.

“There’s certainly no indication that the build of the aircraft, or the design, was involved here,” he said.

He said the association plans to do a review once they’re able to speak with the pilot.

“See if there’s any lessons we can learn, what hazards or risks were involved there and that resulted in this accident, and if there’s anything new we can implement, we’ll do so,” said Whitehead.

“It’s very concerning, we’re taking it seriously.”