Penobscot Island Air Back in Service After Fatal Plane Crash
Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:03 PM
In a routine Penobscot Island Air flight to the offshore island of Matinicus in the early evening of Wednesday, October 5, pilot Donald Campbell prepared to land a Cessna Turbo Skywagon 207 on the short dirt airstrip that handles commuter plane traffic. Campbell was bringing a load of groceries and other supplies to the island and was the only one aboard.
It had been windy all day, with sustained winds of 30 knots and occasional gusts reaching up to 44 knots on Matinicus, according to the National Weather Service. The Federal Aviation Administration reported that during the approach to landing, the plane struck a powerline and Campbell lost control of the aircraft and crashed to the right side of the runway.
Campbell, an experienced pilot from Waldoboro who was also well known on Matinicus, died at the scene.
Penobscot Island Air, who employed Campbell, temporarily halted plane service to the islands until the FAA could investigate.
The initial FAA report was inconclusive, but the investigation did not indicate any mechanical problems leading to the crash. The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) will conduct a more thorough investigation, as it does with all fatal plane crashes.
Penobscot Island Air has resumed regular service to the islands, according to a spokesman for the company.
In July, a Penobscot Island Air Cessna 206 lost power and then quit minutes after taking off from Matinicus on a clear day with a light breeze. The pilot ditched the plane into the waters off the island and the three passengers and the pilot were able to get out of the plane before it sank. All survived.
The aircraft was salvaged. The NTSB investigation into the cause of the July accident is ongoing.