DANBURY, CONN — A small airplane en route from Groton to Danbury Municipal Airport crashed near a Danbury street about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night after losing power. Thanks to a built-in parachute, however, the plane descended into a cluster of trees and all three men aboard climbed out with minor injuries.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the Cirrus SR-20 airplane departed from Groton at 6:51 p.m. and was due to land in Danbury at 7:23 p.m. The plane was registered to Kenyon Flight of West Hartford, Conn.
Airport officials say the pilot radioed that he was experiencing engine problems about five miles from the Danbury airport. The plane’s parachute deployed when it was about two miles from the airport and the aircraft settled nose-down in a patch of trees near Danbury’s South Street.
The Danbury Airport Administrator told the News Times that Federal Aviation Administration authorities were on the way to the scene Wednesday to investigate the crash.
Although the mechanical failure the Cirrus plane experienced remains unknown, author, journalist, and aviator James Fallows, who himself flies a Cirrus SR-22, says the aircraft is equipped with “a very sophisticated systems-monitoring device” that should be able to tell investigators what happened, be it simply running out of gas (the most common cause of single-engine airplane crashes, Mr. Fallows says) or some other problem.
“They were nervous ’cause it just happened but other than that it was just like a normal accident,” Danbury Assistant Fire Chief told WTNH News. “They were upset that the plane had crashed but they were fine. The airplane’s designed for this. The company that designs this airplane sells this parachute as a safety item and obviously it worked. Three people are walking around with no injuries because of the parachute system.”
Whether it was a mechanical failure beyond the pilot’s control or “fuel starvation,” Mr. Fallows raises a good point about the crash – one that aviators everywhere can appreciate:
“The penalty for bad luck or mistakes should not be death.’”