CHARLOTTESVILLE — A single-engine passenger plane suffering engine trouble made an emergency landing in southern Albemarle County on Thursday morning and wound up flipped onto its roof in a field.
The Virginia State Police joined Albemarle County police and a host of fire and county rescue crews at the site near Bundoran Farm, off Plank Road in North Garden.
Robert J. Fecteau, 61, of Taylorsville, North Carolina, the pilot and owner of the plane, was the only person in the 1976 Cessna 172 Skyhawk. He was treated for minor injuries, including cuts and bruises, according to state police at the scene.
The incident occurred in the same vicinity as a June 2006 plane crash that killed two developers of Bundoran Farm.
State troopers at the scene on Thursday said National Transportation Safety Bureau and Federal Aviation Administration officials will conduct the investigation into what caused the crash.
State police Sgt. K. Frazier said Fecteau was on a flight from Hickory, North Carolina, to Warrenton to have maintenance performed on the Cessna. He said the pilot indicated the plane had engine trouble about 15 miles north of Lynchburg and the pilot headed for the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport.
The pilot told air traffic controllers that the engine problems had worsened and he did not believe he would make it to the airport. At some point, Frazier said, the pilot indicated that the engine cut completely off.
The privately owned grass runway at Bundoran Farm is known to local pilots as a potential emergency landing location and is included in FAA airport manuals.
Police and rescue crews scrambled more than a dozen emergency vehicles from as far away as Ivy and Charlottesville. They arrived to find the plane in a rolling, grass field on its roof.
Preliminary investigation indicated the pilot had glided the wing-over Cessna toward the runway and touched down on its landing gear but could not stop before it ran into rough terrain. The plane struck a fence with its front tire, ripping the nose gear from the airplane and flipping it over.
Final determination of the cause and the crash narrative will be made by FAA and NTSB investigators, officials said.
The Cessna landed in the same area as the 2006 flight that killed two New England-based executives of a company developing Bundoran Farm, a century-old cattle ranch, into an innovate combination of homes and a working farm.
That crash occurred in low clouds and foggy conditions as the pilot attempted to land on the grass runway. According to the NTSB final report, the Beechcraft Bonanza was believed to have stalled while performing a downward spiral to make visual contact with the private runway prior to landing.
It struck the ground nose-first, bursting into flames. The report stated.
Robert H. Baldwin and David I. Brown, who were leading development of the property, died in the crash.