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Authorities ID Md. Pilot In Pa. Plane Crash

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York Airport plane crash
Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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YORK, Pa. (WJZ)—Far more questions than answers in a fatal plane crash. A Westminster man was killed when his single engine plane crashed in York, Pa.

Alex DeMetrick reports the victim died within sight of the runway.

In his single-engine Piper PA-28 , Douglas Helms, 56, took off flying on Sunday.

The Westminster resident took off from Frederick Airport, where he is a member of a flying club. It’s not clear what his flight plan was or why he headed to York Airport.

Shortly before 1 p.m. he crashed into a cornfield in sight of York’s runways–very close to a collection of mobile homes.

“His engine cut-off and then it was silent and then a thump, and that was it,” said Delphine Blalock, resident.

The airport reported clear weather at the time of the crash, and local pilots say it is not difficult.

“The approaches are clear,” said Steve Nagorny, pilot. “This airport is as nice as any airport in York County.”

To determine a cause, NTSB investigators start with a checklist.

“And we’re gathering information about the pilot’s experience, type of experience, background, medical history, things along those lines,” said Luke Schiada, NTSB investigator.

Investigators also have a checklist for the plane, looking for possible mechanical problems, while the family of Helms mourns.

“It’s a tragedy. It really is, but it could have been a lot worse.  It could have hit a house or the road.  It could have been a lot worse,” Blalock said.

This is the second fatal plane crash near York airport in as many months. In December, a California pilot was killed within a mile of the runway.

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