Public Safety & Health

Update: Pilot dies in plane crash

Update 05/17: The name of the pilot who died has been released as Gillean James McCown, 51, of Eugene.

A small plane crashed into a Creswell backyard just south of Hobby Field Airport on Saturday evening, killing the pilot.
The name of the victim, who was operating the ultralight aircraft, has not been identified. He was the only person in the two-seat aircraft, said Shelley Humble, airport manager.
Emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene at 8:33 p.m. One minute after arriving on the scene, at 8:43, the subject was pronounced dead, according to dispatch logs.
The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and emergency crews spent about five hours at the scene investigating, Humble said, looking for pieces of the aircraft and gathering information on weather conditions.
After investigators were done inspecting the wreckage, the mangled aircraft was put back into the victim’s hangar at the airport, Humble said.
Operators of ultralight vehicles are not required to meet any aeronautical knowledge, age, or experience requirements to operate those planes, or to have airman or medical certificates, according to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
Regarding certification and registration, according to the code, ”ultralight vehicles and their component parts and equipment are not required to meet the airworthiness certification standards specified for aircraft or to have certificates of airworthiness.”
Humble said that in her 20 years with Creswell Airport, she’s seen four fatalities, with one onsite. The most recent fatalities occurred in 2015 when a grandfather and grandson, Hal W. Skinner, 83, and Milo Skinner, 35, of Springfield, died in a plane crash.
”Aviation is such an unforgiving vehicle,” she said, noting that it is the safest means of transportation – if you respect the sport and are well-trained. ”My instructor used to always say that ‘takeoff is optional, but landing is mandatory,’” Humble said.
It could take anywhere between six months to one year for the final report to be released, Humble said.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos