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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Plane crashes at Elizabethton Fly-In event

October 7th, 2011 11:17 pm by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — One of the Piper Super Cubs in town for the Annual East Tennessee Super Cub Fly-In crashed during take off around 7:15 p.m. on Friday at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport.
The names of the two individuals in the two-seater plane were not immediately known, but Fly-In organizer Steve Lewis said they were not from the region. He said they were not seriously injured, but were taken to the Johnson City Medical Center.
Lewis said medical personnel from Wings Aviation, which is based at the airport, rushed out to check on the victims of the crash. He said they were then transported to the hospital to be more thoroughly checked out.
He said the plane was damaged in the crash “but planes can be fixed, we are just glad the people are going to be all right,” Lewis said.
“We don’t know what happened yet. The Federal Aviation Administration has been called,” Lewis said. He did not see the crash.
The Elizabethton Police Department and Fire Department responded to the crash and controlled the location for the investigators. The Carter County Sheriff’s Department and county volunteer firefighters provided assistance.
Sheriff Chris Mathes said the plane was attempting to take off and wasn’t able to get in the air, it then bounced, spun around and crashed.
“It is pretty much a smashed tin can now,” Mathes said. He said both people in the plane suffered minor injuries.
Approximately 60 Super Cubs from as far away as Minnesota, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Florida are in town for the annual Fly-In. The pilots who participate are highly respected for their safety consciousness and attention to detail.
The same pilots come back to the event every year and many say it is like an annual family reunion. Many of the pilots bring their wives and families to the event. The accident was deeply felt because of the close relationships.
“We are going to go out to our campfire and listen to some bluegrass and see how everyone feels,” Lewis said of whether or not the events planned for the weekend will be continued. Even though the pilot and his passenger have lost their plane, Lewis said there would be room made so each could participate in the upcoming Fly-Outs if they do proceed and the two get clearance from the physicians.
“We take care of our own,” Lewis said.

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