Deadly plane crash in Limington. What went wrong?
LIMINGTON (WGME) -- Investigators have started looking into the deadly weekend plane crash in Limington. Early indications are; the plane's engine may have stalled on takeoff. 52 year old Clarke Tate took off from the Limington Airport late Saturday afternoon. A witness told investigators shortly after takeoff, his plane banked to the left, then went down in the trees. Pilots tell us if you go below a certain speed, a plane can just falls out of the sky.
Dan Kidd, a pilot at the Limington Airport, says "If you go below a certain speed, the plane just falls out of the sky." The plane went down in a wooded area off the end of the runway. One witness told investigators Tate may have been trying to return to the airport, as if there might be mechanical trouble. Another witness said it looked as though Tate's 1942 Culver single-engine plane didn't have enough speed on take-off and pitched up too high.
Kidd told us "If you're going slow, you can stall out." Dan Kidd belongs to the same club as Tate did, the Limington chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. He didn't know Tate well. But he says everyone in the club is numb over Tate's death. Kidd says "Yeah, we're all sad about the whole thing. It's a shame." Clarke Tate was an experienced pilot. He lived in Gray and flew corporate jets for Maine Aviation in Portland. His 1942 plane was his hobby.
Dan Kidd says "There's a world of difference between them. And that might have been a contributing factor." 11 months ago, a pilot lost his life in a similar crash at Limington airport. Tony Longley's plane also banked left after his plane sputtered on takeoff and crashed into the woods. Kidd says "Feel real bad. We just had Tony die last year. So it's a double whammy." Kidd believes the hot weather may have been a contributing factor in both plane crashes.
Kidd says "You see, when you have a very hot day, your plane doesn't perform as well. The air is much thinner. So it's more prone to stalling out." He went on to say "Deep down inside, it just makes you sick to lose another fellow." Pilots at the Limington Airport say they are all wondering what went wrong. And that's what investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will try and figure out.