RICHMOND — Officials with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation and Richmond police are investigating after a single-engine plane crashed onto a dirt driveway at Harvest Acres Farm on Monday afternoon.
The pilot, 70-year-old Richmond resident Bruce E. Sheets, was the lone occupant of the 1959 Forney Aircoupe Model F-1 single engine airplane and was able to escape the aircraft before first responders arrived. He suffered only minor bumps and bruises, the police said.
“The crash resulted in property damage to some solar panels, the chain-link fence, and the aircraft,” Richmond Police Chief Elwood M. Johnson Jr. said in a press release. “The pilot suffered a minor scrape on his neck, but was otherwise uninjured.”
Sheets was treated at the scene and taken for further evaluation as a precaution, fire officials said.
Richmond police, Richmond-Carolina firefighters and personnel with the Hope Valley Ambulance Corps were called to the farm, located at 425 Kingstown Road, shortly before 4 p.m. after Cindy Duncan, one of the farm’s owners, called 911 to report that a plane had crashed at the farm. She said the pilot told her the aircraft had lost power for reasons that were unknown to him.
The pilot attempted to return to Richmond Airport, but police said the loss of power forced him to try and make an emergency landing in the large field at the rear of the Harvest Acres Farm property. The plane’s landing gear struck several panels in the Green Development LLC solar array, which was built on 23 acres of the property in 2017.
Officials said the collision caused the plane to spin counterclockwise before crashing upright into a chain-link fence surrounding the solar array.
The crash remains under investigation through police and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. It is expected to take several months to determine the cause of the loss of power and subsequent crash, officials said.