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Jun 26, 2015 11:51 PM

Plane crashes near Hampton Airfield; pilot uninjured


NORTH HAMPTON - A pilot was uninjured after his ultralight single-engine aircraft went down into some trees just off the runway at the Hampton Airfield.

The crash occurred around 8:20 p.m. Friday evening. An ultralight aircraft is described as a "small, light and inexpensive" single-seat airplane.

Hampton Fire Chief Michael Tully said the pilot, who hasn't yet been identified, had flown into North Hampton from a private airfield in Kensington.

The pilot landed, briefly taxied on the runway and then took back off headed south, Tully said. Moments after takeoff, the pilot began to experience engine problems.

An attempt to return to the airport was unsuccessful.

"He had engine issues on the way up, and attempted to keep climbing and turn back around," Tully said. "He was able to turn almost all the way back around, but wasn't able to keep his height."

The pilot landed in a canopy of trees in the back lot of a home on Mill Road, which runs parallel to the airfield, according to authorities.

He then sat inside the aircraft for about 10 minutes to make sure it was stable as he waited for firefighters to arrive. The pilot was able to climb a short distance down from the tree before he had to be rescued by a ladder.

The plane - which Tully said had a 48 horsepower engine - remained stuck in the trees about 60 ft. off the ground on Friday night. The cockpit appeared to be somewhat enclosed from the perspective of firefighters on the ground.

The North Hampton Fire Dept. plans to work with an insurance company to remove it over the weekend.

The pilot was the only person inside the aircraft at the time of the crash. Emergency crews said he was incredibly lucky to walk away without injuries.

"He was happy to get down on the ground," Tully said.

The ultralight remains intact, suffered minimal damage, and still has about a half tank of gas, Tully told NH1.

The incident occurred only 12 days after a Piper PA-28 crashed following takeoff from the Hampton Airfield. Two people were seriously injured.

Chief Tully said his department had no reason to believe Friday's crash warranted an investigation into safety at the airstrip.

"There's no involvement with Hampton Airfield on this," he said.

The pilot, who fire officials said was familiar with the airfield, was already on his way home during a 10:30 p.m. news conference.

The NH Bureau of Aeronautics and the FAA were notified of the crash, Tully said.

The organizations were unsure if they would launch an investigation on Friday.

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