Reporting Meghan McCorkell
WESTMINSTER (WJZ)– An experienced pilot is killed when his plane crashes right near the runway. The accident happened Friday at Carroll County Regional Airport in Westminster.
Meghan McCorkell has more on what might have caused the wreck.
It appears that plane may have had mechanical issues before it crashed. Now, we’re learning more about the pilot who lost his life.
Pieces of the shattered plane are strewn next to the runway at the Carroll County Regional Airport.
Officials say the pilot– 64-year-old Henry Thomas Judkins of Rockville– radioed he was having technical problems.
“Apparently, the pilot was experiencing some mechanical troubles before the crash, so at this point our crash investigators are working with NTSB,” Elena Russo, spokesperson for Maryland State Police (MSP), said.
The skilled pilot was trying to land a single-engine sport plane.
“It appears as though the airplane almost made it to the runway, struck the ground here and ended up where you saw it,” Capt. Jeff Long of Sky Eye Chopper 13 observed.
Gil Roper with the Westminster Fire Department was one of the first responders on the scene.
“When we arrived at the scene, we found the pilot laying in a grassy field next to the runway,” he said.
Judkins was ejected from the plane. State police tried to Medevac him to the hospital.
“The helicopter was calling us back because they had some sort of issue with the helicopter,” Roper said.
Paramedics took him to another chopper but Judkins died on the way to Shock Trauma.
Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the MSP will be at the crash scene this weekend to investigate.
A family friend tells WJZ that Judkins– known as Tom– was a qualified pilot who’d served in the Air Force. He was both a glider and power pilot, as well as a glider instructor. He was also trained to be an airframe and power plant mechanic.
Now, his family is mourning a wonderful husband and friend.
NTSB investigators are on their way. They will begin their investigation Saturday morning.
Judkins was also heavily involved in the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association and, at one point, had served as the group’s president.