FISHERS, Ind. — Investigators are working to determine what caused a deadly crash Thursday morning at Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport after a small plane burst into flames shortly after takeoff.
The sole passenger of the single-propeller aircraft was killed about 11:15 a.m. at the airport near East 96th Street and Allisonville Road, authorities said. The pilot has not been identified.
Preliminary information indicates that the plane, a Van's RV-12, crashed under unknown circumstances and caught fire shortly after departing the airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said.
Molinaro said damage to the plane was "substantial."
Hamilton County Coroner John Chalfin said he was informed before receiving the body that the man had trauma to his upper body and face and that his legs were charred by fire.
Authorities did not have any preliminary identification, so Chaflin said he would try to determine who the pilot was by any identifying scars or other marks.
Jay Nolan, a barista at Starbucks on East 96th Street, said she had a clear view of the plane crash through the coffee shop's large windows. Whether the plane was returning to the airfield immediately after takeoff was unclear.
"It just looked like he came in fast and low then exploded," Nolan said.
Grant Kirsh, an Indianapolis lawyer who takes flight lessons about three times a week at Metropolitan, said an official at the airport told him the pilot was not one of the 150 airplane owners based there.
“It was someone new to the airport,” said Kirsh, whose father, Steve Kirsh, flies at Metropolitan one to three times a week.
Kirsh said he was told the plane overran the runway and crashed when the plane left the landing strip. He said he drove by the airport and saw the damaged tail of the aircraft in the grass 200 feet past the end of the runway.
“It’s really hard to overrun; usually you need only half the runaway,” Kirsh said. “It would appear something else was going on for that to happen.”
He said the airport is very safe and he could not remember another accident there.
“It’s very well-maintained, top-notch, and I see airport authority officials there all the time inspecting it,” Kirsh said.
The 445-acre airport, surrounded on most sides by suburban development, has a 3,850-foot-long runway. The airport accommodates about 24,000 flights per year, said Stephanie McFarland, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis International Airport, which owns the Fishers airport. About 150 small planes are based there.
McFarland said Metropolitan will be closed pending a National Transportation Safety Board investigation. She declined to provide any further details on the crash.
A final determination on a plane crash can take up to 18 months, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said. A preliminary report is usually available in a week to 10 days.
The Van's RV-12 is a two-seat, all-metal plane that reaches a top speed of 135 mph, according to the manufacturer's website.
FISHERS, Ind. (WTHR) - One person died when a small plane crashed at Indianapolis Metro Airport Thursday morning.
Norman Levine, 78, was the only person on board at the time of the crash. It happened on the east end of the airport near 96th St. & I-69.
Fishers Police spokesman Sgt. Tom Weger said the Federal Aviation Administration and State Police are responding, per FAA protocol.
The NTSB is headed to the scene and the Metro Airport will remain closed for the investigation.
The FAA identified the plane as a Van's RV-12 small aircraft. The FAA says the plane was in the process of departing the Metropolitian Airport.
UPDATE: 78-year-old Carmel man identified as pilot killed in Fishers plane crash
September 1, 2017
Photo from scene on August 31, 2017
FISHERS, Ind. – The Hamilton County Coroner‘s Office has identified the pilot killed in a plane crash in Fishers on Thursday.
Coroner John Chalfin says 78-year-old Norman Levine was piloting the plane yesterday that went down at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport. His driver’s license says he is from Florida, but he lived in Carmel, according to Chalfin.
An autopsy will be conducted today to determine his cause of death. The autopsy may also show whether there was a medical factor that contributed to the plane going down.
The FAA and the NTSB are continuing their investigation to see if there were any mechanical problems with the aircraft.
The crash occurred around 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport, located at at 9913 Willow View Road in Fishers, near East 96th Street and Allisonville Road.
According to the Indianapolis Airport Authority, the single-engine aircraft was approaching from the south to make a landing. It went down in a grassy area south of the runway. There was a fire, but it was extinguished.
The airport, which accommodates about 24,000 flights per year, was closed all afternoon as crews investigated the scene. It reopened around 9 p.m. on Thursday.
C/n / msn: 120136
Fatalities: Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport (KUMP), Fishers, IN - United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport: Indianapolis Metro (KUMP)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The experimental aircraft impacted airport terrain shortly after takeoff from Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport (KUMP), Fishers, Indiana. The airplane was partially consumed by the post-impact fire and the sole pilot onboard was fatally injured.
N212ZF - 2011 VANS AIRCRAFT INC RV-12
|Manufacturer||VANS AIRCRAFT INC|
|Manufacturer's Serial Number||120136|
|Aircraft Type||Fixed wing single engine|
|Builder Certification||Light Sport|
|Number of Seats||2 seats|
|Weight Class||CLASS 1 (Up to 12,499 pounds gross take off weight)|
|Engine Type||4 Cycle|
|Number of Engines||1 engine|
|Horsepower||100 hp (75 kW)|
|Type of Registrant||Individual|
|Owner Name||LEVINE NORMAN B|
|Street||131 SHOSHONE DR|
|Certificate Issue Date||2015-07-20|
|Last Action Date||2015-07-20|
|Mode S Code||50341465|
|Mode S Code Hex||A1C335|
RV–12 General Information