Federal investigators are scheduled to be back out in a Madison County farm field on Thursday to tie up the loose ends of a fatal plane crash.
Lt. Robert Curry with the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s West Jefferson Post said 79-year-old Donald Apple from Piqua was killed when the single engine plane he was piloting crashed into a field just west of the Madison County Airport on Ohio 40 in Somerford Twp.
The pilot was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Madison County Coroner.
Curry said he believes Apple was flying into the airport for the Farm Science Review happening across the road. The three day event is held at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center and attracts about 140,000 visitors from the U.S. and Canada who come to learn about the latest agricultural products.
During the Farm Science Review, the airport does see an increased amount of air traffic.
Curry said Apple’s plane was flying from west to east and was trying to make a landing at the airport just after 7:30 a.m. A witness to the crash said the plane just seemed to lose control and go down.
“No distress calls or anything of that nature that we’ve been able to identify,” Curry said. “We’re investigating currently to see if we can get any information as to the flight pattern or itinerary of the aircraft.”
The weather was favorable on Wednesday — sunny with some wind picking up into the afternoon. Curry said the sun was low at the time of the crash, but it’s unclear whether weather played a factor.
The runway at the Madison County Airport was closed for several hours after the crash, but reopened to pilots in the afternoon.
Curry said the investigation was turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB).
This news organization called the NTSB for further information about a possible cause of the crash, but did not hear back.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol was assisted on scene by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County EMS, London Fire Department, Central Township Fire, the FAA and the NTSB.