Plane crashes through fence at Clermont airport

December 15th, 2011    Author: Kristin Bednarski    Filed Under: News

Officials investigate a plane crash at Clermont County Airport Dec. 8, where engine failure to a 1943 Curtis P40M single engine war plane forced an emergency landing that sent the plane through a fence and onto Taylor Road in Batavia. No one was injured in the incident.

One of the Tri-State Warbird Museum’s recently restored airplanes was involved in a plane crash Dec. 8 at the Clermont County Airport.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash that occurred at approximately 3:25 p.m.

Paul Redlich, 50, of Amelia, was piloting the 1943 Curtis P-40M single engine war plane, when the plane experienced engine failure.

Redlich was able to land the plane but was unable to come to a stop before the end of the runway. The plane went off the end of the runway and crashed though a chain-link fence. It came to a stop on Taylor Road, south of the airport.

No one was injured in the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted and responded to the scene.

Redlich, who is the president of the Tri-State Warbird Museum, was taking the plane out for a test flight at the time, according to Jim Lucas of the War Bird Museum.

“It had less than 15 flight hours,” Lucas said. “We were all shocked the engine went out as quickly as it did.”

Lucas said they were thankful because the accident could have been much worse, especially if Redlich had not been close to the airport. Lucas said he was about five miles out and was flying at about 6,500 feet when the plane experienced engine failure.

“The oil pressure dropped and the engine blew up,” Lucas said. “Once that happened he made an emergency landing. The fence at the end of the runway stopped the plane.”

Lucas said the crash was heartbreaking, especially because it took more than three years and a little more than $1 million to restore the war plane.

According to the museum’s website, the plane was one of the first American fighter aircraft to be mass-produced at the beginning of World War II. And while it was made obsolete by advances in fighter design, it was used in the early stages of World War II by the U.S. Army, Royal, Royal New Zealand, French and Soviet air forces.

Lucas said the wings and the engine of the plane were damaged in the accident but the plane can be repaired. He said it will probably take another year to repair the plane.

The crash remains under investigation.

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