A 64-year-old man, Ronald A. Drake of White Lake, Michigan, was seriously injured when his home built experimental aircraft, an Acro Sport I biplane, (N53DB), which he completed in March 2010, crashed on Monday, October 11 at a wooded area next to the Maple Grove Airport in Conway Township around 3:15 p.m. local time. Mr. Drake was attempting touch and go landings at the time of the accident.
According to airport manager Dennis Bodoin, while the pilot was attempting to land he apparently didn’t apply enough power, causing the aircraft to go into a wing stall. “Now we have a pilot with pretty severe injuries, not a good thing,” Bodoin said.
A Survival Flight helicopter evacuated the injured man to the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor, where he is still listed in critical condition.A report in the Livingston Daily described Mr. Drake as “hanging on to life.”
A neighbor who lives next to the airport, Lori Caudill and her husband Edward, rished to the crash site. They were the first to reach the pilot, whom they described as unconscious with shallow breathing.
“It sounded like a wood chipper going through the woods chipping as it went,” Caudill said. She had cuts on her arms and legs from rushing through the woods in shorts and a T-shirt. “I hope he makes it,” Mrs. Caudill added.
Maple Groove Airport, which is located in Barry County is privately owned. It has a 3,050 feet east to west grass sod runway with low intensity edge lights, and is at an elevation of 908 feet. There is also a north south runway, 2,000 feet long also surfaced with grass sod. It has been in continuous operation since February 1, 1974.
The Acro Sport is a single-seat aerobatic sports plane designed by U.S. aviation enthusiast Paul Poberezny in the early 1970s for homebuilding. Plans are marketed by Acro Sport Inc. of Hales Corners, Wisconsin. It has an empty weight of 900 pounds, a maximum speed of 152 mph, cruises at 130 mph, and has a stall speed of 50 mph, with a service ceiling of 20,000 feet and a rate of climb of 3,500 feet per minute, powered by a 160 horsepower Lycoming O-320-H2AD engine.
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