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Two men injured in Pasco plane crash, FAA says

As cows feed in the distance, a crumpled Piper airplane sits near the Pilot Country Airport on State Road 52 in Pasco County.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

As cows feed in the distance, a crumpled Piper airplane sits near the Pilot Country Airport on State Road 52 in Pasco County.

SHADY HILLS — Less than 48 hours after three people died in Friday's fiery plane crash in Zephyrhills, a second small plane went down Sunday in Pasco County, authorities said.

Two men, the pilot and the passenger of the Piper fixed-wing single-engine craft, were seriously injured in the crash near Pilot Country Airport on State Road 52, said Kathleen Bergen, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman.

About 2:10 p.m., the plane crashed in a field at the end of the runway under unknown circumstances, Bergen said.

Authorities did not release the names of the men on board. But Harold Hedrick, an employee of Prop Works Inc., said his boss, Art Michaud, owned the plane and was flying it when it went down.

"My understanding is they were landing," said Hedrick.

Hedrick said the passenger was a close friend of Michaud's, though he declined to name the man. Hedrick said Michaud, 49, is an accomplished pilot.

Florida corporation records show Michaud owns the Lakeland-based company, which "overhauls, services and sells" airplane propellers, said Leonard Ciskowski, 49, Prop Works' chief inspector and general manager.

Ciskowski said Michaud and the passenger bought the plane together within the past month.

"The passenger is not a pilot yet. He wanted to be a pilot, so I think they were just out flying because it was such nice weather," Ciskowski said.

Ciskowski said that he and Hedrick flew the plane to the Florida Keys last week.

"The aircraft performed flawlessly," he said.

The men were transported to a local hospital via Bayflite with serious leg injuries, said Pasco County Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

On Friday, a newlywed, her 7-year-old daughter and the pilot flying her husband's company plane were killed when they crashed in a swampy area near U.S. 98 about 3 miles north of County Road 54. The plane was only three-quarters of a mile from the spot where the pilot had intended to land.

The victims were identified as pilot-for-hire Thomas Scott Long, 46, of Hudson, Tina Copeland, 46, and her daughter Cami.

Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167. Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Two men injured in Pasco plane crash, FAA says 10/25/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 25, 2009 11:31pm]
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