Georgetown – Just after 2:00 p.m. today, Saturday, January 28, 2017 Georgetown Fire Company was dispatched to the Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown, Delaware.
A 60-year-old Calvert County, Md., pilot is recovering from minor injuries after he had to declare an emergency shortly after takeoff from Delaware Coastal Airport near Georgetown, where he safely landed and exited the aircraft before it became engulfed in flames, according to Sussex County EMS.
The incident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, when the pilot, part of a group of recreational aviators visiting the area for the day, declared an emergency within moments of taking off from the airport’s crosswind runway.
The pilot turned the aircraft around, landing it on the runway, where it rolled to a stop in a grass infield. The pilot exited as flames consumed the 1960 Piper Tripacer. Crews from Georgetown, Ellendale, Millsboro, and Milton fire companies, along with units from Sussex County EMS, Georgetown EMS and Delaware State Police, responded to the emergency, which also touched off a wind-swept brush fire along the runway.
It took fire crews approximately an hour to get the fire under control. Damage to the infield was limited to an approximately five- to 10-acre area. The pilot was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment of minor injuries. The airport was closed to air traffic during the response. Airport officials have reported the incident to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board for investigation.
Early reports that the plane had crash were unfounded.
Image Credits: Sussex County EMS