Richard H. Coles, 82, of Girard, the small plane’s only occupant, was flown to a hospital via helicopter with life-threatening injuries, according to a Friday news release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Coles’ fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft crashed just before 1 p.m. near the intersection of Barclay Messerly and Herr Fieldhouse roads, just northeast of the Warren Airport in western Trumbull County.
Troopers suspect the plane experienced a mechanical failure, according to the release, but the incident remains under investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to open its own investigation.
The Warren Airport is privately owned, and caters mostly to aviation enthusiasts, its manager, George Antonell, told FOX 8.
Antonell said he didn’t witness the crash but arrived at the site soon after and interviewed with state troopers. He told FOX 8 he assumed Coles was attempting to land the plane when he crashed, but wasn’t sure.
“Conditions were very good for flying today. I have no idea what could have caused it,” he said.
Antonell said he is “good friends” with Coles, who enjoyed flying as a hobby, and has been doing it for the last 10 years.
The plane Coles flew on Friday was a 2021 Zenith 750 Cruzer, as reported by FOX 8’s sister station WKBN.
Coles had just finished building the plane, Antonell told FOX 8.