Small single-engine plane crashes at Craig Airport

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A small plane making its way from Dunnellon, which is just north of Tampa, crashed in Jacksonville Thursday evening at Craig Airport, Jacksonville Airport Authority told News4JAX.

A spokesperson said the 1978 Piper Turbo Lance single engine 6-seat plane crashed because of what was believed to be nose gear collapsing.

Only one person was on board, and they were uninjured.

According to Ed Booth, who is an aviation expert, the plane’s engine must be removed and taken apart to inspect the damages, but he projects it could cost around $60,000 to $100,000 to replace the propeller sheet metal damage and the mechanism that failed.

“This is a retractable gear airplane. It appears the main landing gear is fully extended and locked. When the airplane came in for a landing on Runway 1-4, the nose gear was either not extended or collapsed upon touchdown,” Booth said.

Booth said the nose gear is a highly stressed piece of machinery on an airplane.

“From time to time, it’s not unusual to see them collapse on landing,” Booth said.

The airport is currently closed to all air traffic until further notice.

News4JAX obtained the history of the aircraft linked to the tail number. Seven years ago, the plane experienced a gear-up landing at an airport in Arizona. In that crash, none of the landing gear was deployed. In March 2022, it also experienced a hard landing in California and was sold for salvage.

It’s unclear whether the new owners knew about the plane’s previous problems.

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