Wilton pilot, son receive minor injuries when plane flips on runway at Rangeley

Oct. 30—RANGELEY — A Wilton pilot and his son received minor injuries Friday afternoon when the airplane they were in flipped onto its roof on the runway at Stephen A. Bean Municipal Airport, Fire Rescue Chief Michael Bacon said.

Pilot Michael Wells, 60, of Wilton said Monday that a crosswind and a steering component failed, causing the 1947 Piper to flip over.

He and his son, Reed, 24, of Wilton and Utah, who is a student pilot, received minor cuts and abrasions to their faces. They were evaluated by NorthStar EMS ambulance personnel at the site but did not go to a hospital in an ambulance, Bacon said.

The fixed-wing, single-engine plane is owned by Michael Wells, who said he's been flying since he was 17.

"We were out for a joy ride," said Wells, who is vice chairman of the Wilton Board of Selectmen. He said he and his son stopped at the airport to look at the field.

Bacon said the pilot was doing a "touch and go" on the runway when it flipped.

The crash occurred about 2:43 p.m.

Airport Manager Joe Roach, who is Rangeley town manager, was called to the airport. Firefighters asked him to shut down the runway for a short period to clear debris.

The plane was carrying about 15 gallons of fuel, which firefighters were able to contain on the runway and clean up.

Firefighters went through a checklist and had the pilot contact the Federal Aviation Administration. Wells created a report and once that was documented, the Federal Aviation Administration gave Bacon permission to remove the plane from the runway.

Rangeley Public Works foreman Earl Ross used a bucket loader to lift the tail of the lightweight airplane while firefighters and other pilots used ropes to stabilize the plane as it was put right side up.

The airplane was tied down at a plane parking spot at the airport.

The plane had moderate damage, including to the frame and wing, Bacon said.

In July 2021, Reed Wells was a student pilot flying from the airport in Phillips to Norridgewock when the Cessna 150 he and his father were in had engine trouble over Farmington. Reed Wells landed the plane safely in the field behind the Narrow Gauge Cinema.

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