Lost power after taking off from Hummel Field

by Don Richeson – 

BREAKING NEWS — World War I’s deadliest fighter pilot — German Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, nicknamed the “Red Baron” — was known for getting out of scrapes again and again. He downed 80 allied planes before meeting his death in a final dogfight over the skies of France in 1918.

A Topping man piloting a replica of the Red Baron’s famed Fokker Dr.1 triplane replicated some of von Richthofen’s luck when he came away uninjured after the 2019 Airdrome Aeroplane he was flying crashed in the 100 block of Willow Lane Thursday morning. The man, Michael C. Kuhnert, 61, experienced a loss of power after taking off from Hummel Field in Topping, according to a Virginia State Police news release. During the subsequent emergency landing, Kuhnert’s triplane struck a power line, causing the plane to roll over when it struck the ground.

In a photo released by the VSP, the plane appears largely intact as its rests inverted in a field.

The investigation is still ongoing and VSP personnel remained on scene Thursday afternoon.