Plane crashes at county airport, pilot walks away with minor injuries

  • Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013 12:58 a.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, April 18, 2013 1:10 a.m.
Robert ‘Bob’ Poole Jr. was flying this airplane he built when he bounced the plane on landing and it overturned. Poole was helped out of the plane by passersby and some National Guardsmen in the area. Poole had minor injuries.
Robert ‘Bob’ Poole Jr. was flying this airplane he built when he bounced the plane on landing and it overturned. Poole was helped out of the plane by passersby and some National Guardsmen in the area. Poole had minor injuries.

SALISBURY — Robert “Bob” Poole Jr. had been flying his two-seat experimental airplane for less than an hour Wednesday morning at the Rowan County Airport when it crashed, overturned and temporarily trapped him inside.

Poole, of Granite Quarry, was able to get out of the plane with help. He suffered minor injuries.

Fellow pilot Hodge Coffield was at the airport working on his Cessna when he decided to watch Poole fly and saw the small plane slow as it approached the runway, Coffield said.

After the plane crashed, National Guardsmen in the area lifted the plane, a Van’s RV-9A, and Coffield opened a sliding canopy so Poole could get out.

Coffield said Poole was conscious and alert but a little shaken. Poole had a gash on the back of his head and scrapes on his elbow, Coffield said.

Emergency Services Director Frank Thomason told reporters during a press conference Poole refused treatment at the scene. The crash occurred around 11:30 a.m. on the northern end of the runway. Poole declined to comment.

“As he attempted to land the aircraft, the aircraft bounced slightly off the runway. He attempted to regain control, it veered off the main runway onto a grassy area and overturned,” Thomason said.

There was a small leak, Thomason said, that the Salisbury Fire Department contained.

“Certainly it could’ve been much worse and we are very pleased he wasn’t hurt any worse than he was,” Thomason said.

Coffield had been interested in the aircraft after having talked to Poole on other occasions about the plane. Poole told Coffield it took between three to five years to build. The plane had recently been certified to fly, Coffield said.

Poole had just gotten his airworthiness certificate from the FFA in February, according to Coffield. The plane had not even been painted yet.

“He was telling people there was something going wrong with flight controls. He had issues with his flaps. He said either they stuck or he had some problems with them,” Coffield said.

Poole appeared to be practicing some touch-and-go landings, Coffield said.

Touch-and-go landing involves landing on a runway and taking off again without coming to a full stop.

The airport runway was closed for a number of hours while fire crews cleaned up the fuel leak and the plane was moved. The plane was righted and towed to Poole’s hangar at the Rowan County Airport.

The N.C. Highway Patrol conducted an initial investigation, supplemented by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, which had jurisdiction. The Salisbury Police assisted. The Federal Aviation Administration was notified for a follow up investigation.

Thomason said it’s been several years since the last plane crash on the airport property, but there have been a few crashes in the county.

Two people died in March when their small airplane crashed on High Rock Lake, a Rowan County pilot died in June when his plane crashed taking off from the Gold Hill Airpark and 49-year-old Rowan County man died in October when his experimental plane went down in a field in Granite Quarry.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: Facebook:

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