Fatal plane crash: Man was flying Frederick club’s craft

A Westminster man who died Sunday when his small plane crashed near York, Pa., was a member of flying club that owned the plane he was piloting.

Douglas Helms, 56, died when the single-engine Piper PA-28 went down in a cornfield near York Airport at about 1 p.m. Sunday. Helms took off from Frederick Municipal Airport at about 11 a.m. and was on his way to New York.

The four-seat, 180-horsepower plane, which was certified airworthy in 1972, is owned by Frederick-based Condor Flying Club Inc.

A representative of Condor Flying Club said Monday the organization is not commenting on the crash at the request of Helms’ family.

Luke Schiada, a senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said, based on witness observations, it appears that Helms was approaching the airport for a landing when the plane crashed.

Schiada said investigators were at the scene Monday examining the wreckage, which will be moved to another location for further inspection.

Schiada said a final report on the cause of the crash could take as long as 12 months. He said investigators are gathering information about Helms, including his flying experience and medical history, and about the history of the plane.

It was the second deadly crash near York Airport in more than a month. A 38-year-old California man, Brian Robertson, died Dec. 22 when his plane crashed in a field as he was approaching the airport at the end of a cross-country flight.


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