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Pilot walks away from crash at Rowan airport

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

A plane ran off the runway at Rowan County Airport Wednesday morning, though the pilot was able to walk away from the crash.

The pilot was identified as Robert Poole of Granite Quarry, according to Hodge Coffield, one of the people who pulled him from the plane.

Poole was not seriously injured. He had a nasty gash on the back of his head but didn’t need to be transported to the hospital, Coffield said. Poole could not be reached for comment.

Poole had been building the plane from a kit over the last five years, Coffield said. He’d been flying and practicing touch-and-go landings for about 45 minutes Wednesday morning before the crash. In such landings, Coffield said, the pilot brings the wheels to the ground and then immediately takes off. Poole seemed to be trying to familiarize himself with the intricacies of his plane, which was so new it had not yet been painted.

Coffield, who had been at the airport working on his own Cessna, says he saw Poole’s plane run off the side of the runway into a patch of soft dirt. The heavy front end then sank, and the plane toppled over onto its roof.

Several people from a National Guard helicopter unit sprinted to the plane. After guardsmen lifted the rear of the plane, Coffield was able to shift the shattered canopy so Poole could get out. NBC Charlotte contributed.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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