LEVANT, Maine — The pilot of a small plane told police a wind shear hit his two-seat airplane Monday morning and basically knocked it out of the sky as it was taking off from a grass airstrip, Trooper Trevor Snow of the Maine State Police said Monday afternoon.
The crash landing, which occurred around 11 a.m., caused substantial damage to the Cessna 140 piloted by Glenburn resident Ian Gillis. Gillis and his passenger, Douglas Grant of Petersburg, Va., were able to walk away from the crash with only minor injuries.
Gillis told investigators that he was attempting a touch-and-go landing, when the wind caused him to lose control of the airplane, Snow said.
“The plane did touch down and upon lifting off again, Mr. Gillis told me wind shear forced the plane down,” he said. “He lost control, [but] he landed upright.”
The hard landing caused a considerable amount of damage to the single-engine Cessna, which was built in 1948, and the aircraft may never fly again. There was damage to the plane’s body and frame, its nose, both wings and the undercarriage, and one wheel was broken completely off.
Emergency personnel from all over the region were dispatched to Griffin Airfield, a private, grass airstrip located at the junction of Pember and Griffin roads, to help with the crashed plane.
The incident was quickly downgraded, and most of the emergency personnel were called off when the first responders arrived and found the mangled plane sitting on the grassy runway.
The pilot and his passenger were both taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center with minor injuries. Gills had cuts to his face, was bruised and complained of pain, and Grant also complained of pain.
The Federal Aviation Administration looks into all plane crashes and is sending an investigator to Levant, agency spokeswoman Alison Duquette said Monday.
“We’ll be sending an inspector tomorrow to investigate,” Duquette said.
She described the plane crash as a hard landing, based on what she was told.