No fatalities in plane crash landing in Tupelo

Emergency personnel work the scene of a small airplane crash landed Saturday afternoon near the runway at Tupelo Regional Airport. (Lauren Wood)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a small airplane crash landed Saturday afternoon near the runway at Tupelo Regional Airport. (Lauren Wood)

By JB Clark/Daily Journal

TUPELO – A plane crash-landed at the Tupelo Regional Airport on Saturday afternoon, just short of the runway.

The Beechcraft Bonanza single-piston plane left Birmingham at 12:27 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Tupelo at 1:16 p.m. It crashed at 1:07 p.m.

The pilot was the only person in the plane and was able to walk from the plane to the ambulance, according to Sarah Robinson, communications director for the city of Tupelo.

He suffered some lacerations and was taken to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo for treatment.

“The aircraft landed about 2,000 feet short of the airport runway in the Buffalo Park,” said Josh Abramson, the airport’s executive director. “The pilot had his wheels underneath him at that point and when he hit the roadbank adjacent to West Jackson Street Extended it launched him back in the air. He then landed in the airfield of Tupelo Regional Airport.”

The name of the pilot has not been released but the plane is registered to Fred Newman Jr. of Columbus. The phone number associated with Newman is disconnected.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton said the city is working with the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Tupelo Regional Airport to determine the cause.

Robinson said there is no obvious damage to the Tupelo Buffalo Park.

Abramson said he contacted the NTSB and the FAA and that neither agency is planning to send an agent to investigate at this time.

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  • Thile

    Are all these plane crashes/mishaps we’ve had over the north MS area in the last year the result of pilot error or some sort of mechanical failure?

  • Americasgone

    Single Piston?

  • cindirutledgeparker

    I saw this crash. He did not skip onto Jackson and then over the fence. He got airborne again and went up and over Jackson, stalled then went straight down.

  • Tammi Reeves-knott

    So many plane crashes in Mississippi in the last few years. Kinda makes me scared to ever fly out of Tupelo again, and I hate this, because it’s my favorite airport.

    • Cornballer

      This is a ridiculous statement born from ignorance. These crashes from the past couple of years have been in the general aviation sector of aviation. Accident rates within GA are 40 times higher than in transport category (larger aircraft, airlines). Most of these accidents have been pilot error (flying into a thunderstorm, running out of fuel, operating in an unsafe manner, etc.) Traveling to and from Tupelo via scheduled air carrier service is safe.

      • Winston Smith

        I thought Cornballers were only legal in Mexico?

        • Cornballer

          Somehow they keep showing up in the US. Go figure.

          • DownGoesBrown

            I thought your name was a tribute to RGIII. 😉

  • fairorright

    Adherence to safety policies and procedures and risk management are key elements in an airport’s safety program. Neglect and poor safety practices may well figure in to the poor safety record of Tupelo Regional over the past few years. An airport’s guidance for overall safety is the Airport Emergency Plan (AEP). Tupelo may not have a validated or approved AEP given the statements and responses to accidents and other safety violations. Consider the following issues and judge for yourself:

    The Duncan crash on take-off two years ago had several issues to address. The Director thought it was not the responsibility of the TAA since it was outside the fence. FAA regulations specifically state that an airport has an obligation to respond and assist accidents on adjacent
    property if reciprocal agreements are in place with emergency responders responsible for that property. The tower and airport management were not even aware that a crash had occurred. An eye witness from the terminal walked to the Director’s office to point it out. A command center was not set up. A timeline was not established. Statements from involved individuals and eye witnesses were typed and not hand written with signatures. Fueling was not stopped and
    sampled per directives. Fueling may have been done by a trainee but there was not qualified training Supervisor at the time.

    The first of two 747s landed short (never reported) breaking threshold lights and spewing gravel on the runway. A runway incursion occurred when personnel and equipment responded to the debris on the runway without authorization causing a second 747 to execute a missed approach. Eyewitnesses saw and heard this event. An official report by the management was not accurate but convinced FAA to not pursue an incursion determination. A review of the report reveals that the airport manager was reported present during this event but he was in Atlanta at an FAA Safety Conference. A report from the tower manager did not include telephone conversations with concerned individuals. No eye witnesses were contacted or interviewed.

    Recently a small single engine Cessna had to make an emergency landing on State Route 45. Quick response and correct emergency procedures resulted in a landing without incident. It last
    fueled at Tupelo yet fueling was not stopped and samples were not taken.

    More recently a Beechcraft crashed while attempting to land on runway 18 at Tupelo. Again, there was no use of the AEP. The airport manager provided a detailed description of the accident but was it from an eyewitness or his opinion? Is he a graduate of a certified safety school? Was the AEP followed? Oh, by the way, the Buffalo Park is also part of the airfield of Tupelo Regional Airport. And it should be noted that TAA approved a 650 foot runway extension that puts West Jackson and that fence that might have influenced the outcome of the crash in the Runway Protection Zone (RPZ). A recent 2009 amendment to the RPZ description depicts a center section of the RPZ that is to be treated like a Runway Safety Area, clear of any obstructions that can’t easily be broken when struck by an aircraft.

    It should also be noted that the Air Traffic Control Tower Manager for Tupelo was fired recently. There has been no reporting on this for some reason, but issues have surfaced that include a television in the cab where the controllers are, an obvious distraction and risk management violation of cab safety procedures. The airport manager was aware of this. It was also reported in the Duncan accident report and the FAA incursion report that the recorders for the radio conversations were inoperative. Surely they would be checked every morning before beginning
    operations. It appears that the policy at the airport is to shoot from the hip. And they’re not very accurate or successful at that. But they have a lot of excuses.

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