World War I replica plane crashes in Dexter after a breeze lifts it into the air

Gabor Degre | bdn
Gabor Degre | bdn
Rodney Wright of East Corinth the pilot of the small World War I-era replica aircraft suffered a serious head injury as he crashed Wednesday. He was taxiing the aircraft at the Dexter Municipal Airport late Wednesday morning when the breeze lifted the plane into the air and it crashed as it came down, airport officials speculated about the crash. Gabor Degre | BDN
loading...
Lifeflight of Maine, the emergency helicopter service, has been called to the scene, according to the dispatcher.
Sign in or Subscribe to view this content.

A small World War I-era replica plane crashed at the Dexter Municipal Airport late Wednesday morning after a breeze lifted the taxiing plane into the air with the pilot strapped inside.

The pilot, Rodney Wright of East Corinth, who had spent three years building the experimental aircraft, suffered a serious head injury and was brought to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, according to Chief Matt Connor of the Dexter Fire Department.

Wright was taxiing the plane with an open cockpit on a grass runway at the airport when the breeze lifted the plane, which has two sets of wings, into the air. The plane crashed down, destroying its landing gear, then ended up upside down, said Roger Nelson, the airport’s manager. Wright spent time upside down as he was strapped into the cockpit with a shoulder harness.

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Rodney Wright of East Corinth the pilot of the small World War I-era replica aircraft suffered a serious head injury as he crashed Wednesday. He was taxiing the aircraft at the Dexter Municipal Airport late Wednesday morning when the breeze lifted the plane into the air and it crashed as it came down, airport officials speculated about the crash.

The plane is not certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, so it is not allowed to fly. However, Wright — who has hangar space at the airport — is permitted to use the plane on the ground.

“He definitely didn’t have any intention of getting in the air with it,” Nelson said. “It’s a very serious crash.”

The Dexter police and fire departments responded to the crash around 11:30 a.m., and crews spent awhile trying to stabilize Wright before a LifeFlight helicopter brought him to Bangor, according to Connor.

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
A replica of a World War I-era biplane crashed at the Dexter Municipal Airport late Wednesday morning.

The airport is closed until further notice, and Maine Department of Environmental Protection staffers were on the scene Wednesday afternoon checking for fuel leaks. The FAA will conduct an investigation because the crash caused an injury.

Wednesday’s crash was the third in 20 years at the Dexter airport, according to Connor.

No charges are expected to be filed in connection with the crash.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly reported the plane was a World War II replica.


Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

By continuing to use this site, you give your consent to our use of cookies for analytics, personalization and ads. Learn more.