Bruised but alive, Andrew Earl Jackson crawled out of his upside-down airplane yesterday, the second pilot in two days to crash moments after taking off from Bay Bridge Airport on the Eastern Shore.
Jackson, on a flight that would have covered just a few miles, felt the aircraft lose power minutes after climbing east from the Queen Anne's County airport in clear afternoon skies, according to Maryland State Police.
Jackson, 61, was taking his plane to his Stevensville vacation home, where he has an airstrip for a backyard. He reportedly lives in New York, where he works for ABC News.
As the engine of Jackson's 1963 Champion sputtered, he began banking back toward the runway for an emergency landing, according to state police.
Then the single engine stalled. He could not restart it before skidding wheels-down in a rutted wheat field 500 yards short of the airstrip, state police said.
The plane cartwheeled to a stop a stone's throw from Route 8, and a shopping mall with a Kmart and convenience store. Employees speculated that the plane's wheels caught in the field's till grooves, flipping the light aircraft.
"I don't know what happened, other than the plane came up short of our runway," said John Pepe, who has managed the airport on Kent Island for five years. "We don't have any information yet as to what may have caused it."
Jackson refused to discuss the incident.
Scott Muntean, a pilot who was at the airport at 3: 30 p.m., the time of the accident, added: "It's very strange that it came after yesterday's crash, but sometimes these things happen in threes."
On Friday, a twin-engine Piper Navajo carrying a Severna Park family climbed to 75 feet before falling into the Chesapeake Bay. The seven members of the Childs family were treated at hospitals and released, but the plane still lies in 5 feet of water, its tail poking above the surface like a shark fin.
"I couldn't believe it," said Cpl. Laura Lu Herman, a spokeswoman for the Maryland State Police. "It's incredible. What's more amazing is that all eight people have now walked away from crashes in the last two days."
Jackson walked away from the crash and was given a ride to his home on nearby Kentmorr Road. But he returned about 15 minutes later to the crash site.
A Kent County ambulance took him to Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was being treated for minor injuries last night, according to Maryland State Police.
Herman said she has called the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, which already has an investigator looking into the Friday accident. NTSB officials said yesterday they will treat the crashes as unrelated unless an investigation reveals a link.
Alan Pollock, an NTSB spokesman, said investigators will examine the planes' fuel, control panels, maintenance records and mechanical histories.
He said there are 2,000 plane accidents a year, and the two-day streak at Bay Bridge Airport probably wasn't a first.
Pub Date: 5/26/96