Pilot unhurt when plane crashes end over end near Princeton airport

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 23, 2011 - 6:39 AM

The 33-year-old rookie was flying alone when the plane lost power and flipped as he tried to land.

A private plane tumbled to a crash landing Tuesday morning near the Princeton, Minn., airport, and the rookie pilot crawled out of the upside-down wreckage without a scratch, authorities said.

The Cessna 152 "flipped end over end when it touched down and sustained heavy damage," the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office said.

Unscathed from the wreckage just south of Princeton Airport in Baldwin Township was Barry Ramage, 33, of Princeton, the Sheriff's Office said. Ramage was the only person aboard.

The plane took off shortly before 11 a.m., climbed to about 400 feet and lost power, the Sheriff's Office said. It glided over a farm field while descending to its eventual fire-free demise. Authorities have yet to determine why the plane lost power.

Ramage was not immediately available to explain what happened, but one of his partners in a gymnasium floor installation business said that this was just his second solo flight.

"There were a lot of trees in the area" where he was trying to land, said Debbie Covlin, a former commercial pilot, who spoke with Ramage afterward and added that she got him interested in flying. "It was a small area to put it down in, with what training he had."

Covlin said Ramage is "regretting that he ended up upside-down, but it was the best he could've done."

Witnessing the crash was Ramage's flight instructor, who also is the plane's owner, she said.

Despite the drama, the husband and father of two "says he's ready to get back in the air again," Covlin added.

The propeller-driven Cess-na 152 seats two people and is often used for training and personal transportation.

PAUL WALSH

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