Hayward Plane Crashes Near Winton Avenue

APRIL 13, 2005

An airplane crashed between two schools shortly after taking off from the Hayward Executive Airport on April 12. The pilot reportedly steered his aircraft into a Hayward city maintenance yard just off Jackson Street to minimize potential damage or injury.

Shortly after the plane took off about 8:50 a.m. the pilot, 70-year-old Richard Crowe, reported problems with his engine in three calls to the airport. According to the airport's operations manager, Ross Dubarry, the pilot was trying to return to the airport. "It's a very difficult procedure, when there is congestion, to land a plane," Dubarry said. "The pilot did a very good job to avoid injury."

The crash site at 24505 Soto Road is midway between Winton Middle School and Muir Elementary School, each about a couple hundred yards away. It is merely yards away from Jackson Street, a major arterial for local and commuter traffic.

Crowe reportedly did not suffer major injuries. He was taken to Eden Medical Center where he was listed in "fair condition" the day of the crash. A volunteer at the airport said Crowe is an electrical contractor who commutes between his home in Oxnard and the Bay Area.

Hayward city firefighters found the plane leaking fuel and drained between 10 and 20 gallons of fuel from the plane to avoid possible explosion. A subsequent investigation revealed that the plane's fuel tanks had leaked more than 40 gallons of fuel.

Crowe's airplane, a single-engine RV-6, is classified by the Federal Aviation Administration as "experimental". Experimental aircraft are built by individuals from kits. Hayward Airport manager Brent Shiner, in a Daily Review article, states that experimental aircraft make up between a fourth and a third of local airport traffic.

A preliminary investigation released by the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that the airplane's fuel filters, which were actually designed for automobile engines, were lined with debris. The use of parts that are not specfically designed for aircraft is permitted by the FAA.

Source: Based on articles in the Daily Review