Plane crashes at Gladwin Airport shortly after take off

Moments after a man took off from his new ultralight plane for a flight back to Fremont, the plane crashed Tuesday night at Gladwin Zettel Memorial Airport.

“It went up and down pretty quickly,” Gladwin City manager Chris Shannon said.

Gladwin Town Police Sgt. Joshua Hale said the pilot, the sole occupant of the plane, was stuck in the plane, so Gladwin firefighters used tools to free him. The man sustained injuries from the accident, the extent of which is unknown at this time.

Hale said the incident happened around 6:59 p.m. Tuesday.

The identity of the pilot could not be determined by the police. Police said the plane was destroyed in the crash.


Airport manager Mike Hargrave said he was not at the airport when the crash happened. He said he came after. He did not comment on the incident.

Ultralight planes are often built from kits.

Shannon said the man bought the ultralight plane and went to pick it up from an airport hangar. He said the man’s wife drove him to the airport and then tried to get back to Fremont.

An ultralight aircraft is typically a single-seat plane with a maximum weight of around 254 pounds and a fuel capacity of five gallons, according to aviation experts.

At its maximum speed at full power, an ultralight aircraft can travel at 55 knots. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, those who fly these planes do not need a pilot’s license. In the United States, approximately 60 people die each year in ultralight crashes.

Training is available in specially certified two-seat ultralights through the Experimental Aircraft Association and other organizations. Although the training is not compulsory, it is recommended, especially for anyone new to piloting.

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