Pilot Recovering After Homemade Plane Crashes In Wagoner
WAGONER, Oklahoma - The 54-year-old pilot who crashed his ultralight aircraft near the Wagoner Airport is in recovering at a local hospital. Wagoner police and the FAA are working together to figure out why Marvin McGrath's kit-built plane went down.
Pilots who fly experimental aircraft's call themselves aviation enthusiasts. When McGrath's self-built plane went down Wednesday night, he was actually practicing takeoffs and landings.
Many say the light aircraft is actually very safe.
Lieutenant Brad Harding with Wagoner Police Department, said, "He was doing touch and goes, practice landings, and apparently on his last one he was flying from the north to the south. It stalled on him and it went down."
A friend of McGrath's told News On 6 the plane that went down, a buccaneer ultralight, was one he built from a kit.
"They are like building a big model airplane that will let you fly around in it, and they are quite safe. The only hazard or danger is to remember they are as safe as the pilot flying them," said aviation enthusiast Ross Adkins.
Tulsa has three experimental aircraft associations. Adkins, said building and flying lightweight planes is a sport, which is not regulated by the FAA.
"Anybody that is going to build their own airplane, or buy one of these ultralight aircraft, make sure that they have had training," said Adkins.
McGrath was the only person on board the single engine plane. After the crash he complained of back, neck and leg pain.
"Although he was injured, that airplane had been in a regular airplane, he probably would not have survived, but because it's such a lightweight airplane," Adkins said.
He said the plane weighs less than 254 pounds, and is designed with safety in mind.
"A lot of them have, what we call a ballistic parachute in them, so all you have to do is if you get in trouble, reach down and pull a lever, it shoots a parachute up and you and the plane float down under a canopy," said Adkins.
The FAA looked at the wreckage Thursday afternoon and is working with Wagoner Police to determine the official cause of the crash.
McGrath said he will be fine, but isn't interested in doing interviews.