Willow Springs plane crash is at least second for Gainesville man
A photo posted to the MSHP Troop G Twitter page Sunday afternoon shows a small experimental kit-plane crumpled, nose-down in the front yard of a Willow Springs home. The post says the plane’s 78-year-old pilot reported losing power before crashing 700 feet short of the Willow Springs Memorial Airport, in the yard of a home. Acquaintances have confirmed that the pilot was Ronald Hook of Gainesville. The MSHP tweet says he suffered minor injuries and was transported to an area hospital, where he was reportedly treated and released. The house received minor damage when struck by the plane.
The photo may remind some Ozark County Times readers of a similar photo published in the July 1, 2015, edition of the Times. In that photo, a small plane rested nose-down at Gainesville High School, just a few feet from the front of the school. Hook was a passenger in the plane involved in that 2015 crash; Jerry Bryan of Jackson, Arkansas, was the pilot. The plane was unable to lift off during takeoff at the Gainesville Memorial Airport; it skidded across the road, into the school parking lot, and hit a concrete curb next to the school.
Tom White, president of Willow Springs-based chapter 1218 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, told the Times Monday that Hook is the chapter’s flight adviser. White said that Saturday’s flight was not Hook’s first in the aircraft, but he could not provide any additional details about the incident.
KY3 in Springfield reported on its website that Hook’s kit-plane crashed in the Willow Springs yard just after 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, and that the pilot was still buckled into the plane when officers arrived on scene.
“The plane took off from the Willow Springs Airport here and experienced a mechanical failure. The plane did turn around and tried to land back at the airport and ended up having to make an emergency landing in this yard,” MSHP Cpl. Jeff Cunningham told KY3.
Debris from the plane crash was reportedly found on the road about 50 yards west of the home. In its path from the air to the ground, the aircraft missed power lines that ran near the home. It hit the ground, traveled through a creek bed and reportedly skidded to its resting point next to the home.
MSHP spokesman Sgt. Jeffrey Kindewr said Monday the FAA is expected to investigate the incident.