A Piper Cherokee plane crashed after trying to return to Atlantic City International Airport after taking off Tuesday, officials said.
Only the pilot was onboard and he apparently escaped serious injury, said Kevin Rehmann, a spokesperson with the South Jersey Transportation Authority.
The single-engine plane lost power and hit a fence, Rehmann said, adding that the pilot exited the plane seemingly unharmed and was being evaluated by medical personnel at the site.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that at 4:50 p.m., the Piper Cherokee PA28 had departed Runway 13, then attempted to return to the airport due to a reported engine problem.
“It went down on airport property, and clipped a fence. ... Damage to the aircraft is substantial,” the statement said. The FAA is investigating.
Responders on the scene said that when the engine stalled, the pilot tried to land on the dirt perimeter. He clipped the fence, breaking a wing and the plane landed on its roof, they said.
Rehmann did not have an identity of the pilot.
According to the FAA website, the plane is registered to the FAA Flying Club Inc. at the William J. Hughes Technical Center.
Non-profit records show the club has existed for 50 years, and “provide(s) airplane maintenance, insurance, training and releated on behalf of members.”
Amnon Pollak, the club’s treasurer, said the pilot was a club member. While Pollak would not identify the person, he described him as “an experienced pilot.”
The club’s website said it had about 25 active members, with membership open to local FAA employees or anyone working at the tech center. Student pilots are also welcome. Members pay a $300 initiation fee, $50 monthly dues and $65 an hour, plus fuel, for use of the club’s single plane, which it identifies as a four-seat 1977 Piper Warrior II. Insurance for both liability and hull damage is provided by the Club. The maximum deductible for which a Club member is responsible is $500. More details about insurance coverage are available from the Operations Officer.
At the airport, flashing red emergency lights were distantly visible from the top of the airport’s parking garage shortly after the incident. The crash appeared to be past the eastern end of the 10,000-foot main runway, beyond buildings used by the U.S. Coast Guard.
A firetruck and two ambulances were seen entering the 177th Fighter Wing entrance at the airport around 5:15 p.m.
Staff Writer Lynda Cohen contributed to this report.
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