The cause of the plane crash that killed a Rockville pilot at the Carroll County Regional Airport in Westminster is still unknown as federal agencies are expected to continue their investigation today.
The single-engine, fixed-wing plane crashed at the north end of the runway around 10:10 a.m. Friday.
Henry Judkins, 64, the only occupant of the plane, was pronounced dead after he arrived at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma, according to a prepared news release from the Maryland State Police.
The preliminary investigation indicates Judkins was one mile away from the airport when he reported mechanical issues. Witnesses observed the aircraft flying at varying altitudes before descending into a grassy area approximately 40 feet before the runway, according to state police.
Pieces of the plane were scattered over 100 feet. The wing and the body of the plane were found in several separate, mangled pieces.
Judkins was ejected about 40 feet from the plane and onto the grass, according to Gil Roper, a spokesman for the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. 1. Carroll County emergency personnel responded to the crash.
A helicopter arrived shortly after the crash to transport Judkins to the hospital, but it experienced an engine malfunction. Judkins was transported by ambulance to an area near the Mitchell's Golf Complex in Reisterstown. A second helicopter arrived and flew Judkins to Shock Trauma, according to state police.
Federal Aviation Administration staff arrived at the scene Friday afternoon and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to begin their investigation this morning, according to NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway. The NTSB is tasked with investigating all civil aviation accidents in the United States.
State police crime scene technicians assisted investigators by processing the crash site in an attempt to recover physical evidence from the scene, according to state police.
The plane involved in the crash was a REMOS GX sport plane, according to FAA spokesman Jim Peters. The plane is registered to a woman in New York, according to the FAA N-Number Registry.
Including Friday's incident, ten plane crashes have occurred at the airport since 1982, according to crash reports on the NTSB's website. No one died in eight of the ten crashes. The only other fatal plane crash that occurred at the Carroll County Regional Airport occurred in 1982. Four people, including the pilot, died in that crash.
The last plane crash at the airport occurred Jan. 26, 2008.
The airport was shut down while investigators looked into the plane crash, but officials expected to reopen it late Friday, county spokeswoman Roberta Windham said. Planes were being diverted to surrounding airports, she said.
The airport and runway did not sustain damage during the crash, Windham said.