A 79 year old man died after crashing his experimental aircraft into an alfalfa field near Klamath Falls Oregon recently.

Small, Private Experimental Aircraft Nosedives in an Alfalfa Field

Admin Airplanes, Flex Air News, Uncategorized

A 79 year old man died after crashing his experimental aircraft into an alfalfa field near Klamath Falls Oregon recently.

Abraham “Dutch” Van Rood took off from the Klamath Falls airport around 9:50 am on a Wednesday morning according to Doug Cunningham, air traffic control manager at the Crater Lake – Klamath Regional Airport control tower. The ultralight experimental aircraft crashed, with Van Rood aboard in an alfalfa field shortly after 10:30 am that morning.

After noting that Van Rood’s last communication with the tower was when he was exiting the tower’s Class D airspace, Cunningham said Van Rood should have called. “He was probably trying to make it back to the airport. You just don’t know.” he said. Cunningham also said he sees many experimental aircraft in the area. Most of them are built from very expensive kits, he said.

According to airport officials, Van Rood had a hangar at the airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have not and will not be investigating the crash due to the experimental nature of the craft and the Klamath County Sheriff’s office lead the investigation as it was deemed “accidental”, according to Sheriff Chris Kaber.

Kaber said that the FAA did inspect the crash site and further authorized the landowner to remove the aircraft from the field. The landowner opted to move the plane to an unused portion of the field to wait for further removal, later.

Additionally, Kaber stated that because the craft was not built commercially, “it doesn’t come under their purview or meet their criteria, for NTSB to respond.”

FAA Spokesman Alan Kenniser said the plane was an unregistered Belite ultralight. Accordingly, these types of planes meet certain weight restrictions and are labeled as experimental aircraft so the pilot is not required to register it or obtain a pilot’s license to fly it. FAA records revealed that Van Rood had previously applied for a pilot’s license, but it was either rejected or he never obtained one.

Apparently, Kaber found records indicating that Van Rood owned the aircraft for about a year and had flown it before. “He was flying on a perfectly calm, clear morning, Kaber added. “It was probably the only type of morning you’d want to fly a small plane like that.”

The Sheriff’s Office obtained a short cellphone video showing the moment that the experimental aircraft crashed nose first into the field. Kaber noted that the video displays the craft sustaining “full-frontal impact”.

“The video helps us understand the last three seconds [of the crash event],” Kaber said. “It’s apparent that it was an uncontrolled flight of the aircraft.”

An autopsy was scheduled with the State Medical Examiner’s Office, but results may or may not be released at the discretion of the Sheriff’s Office and Van Rood’s family.

“We intend to have a detective at the autopsy which is just normal procedure,” Kaber said. He also made further comment about the private property belonging to Van Rood that was recovered at the scene of the crash, mentioning that will all get back to the family – who has been notified of Van Rood’s death and is en route from out of state.