Pilot says engine failure led 1946 plane to crash in Warren County; Investigation ongoing

HARVEYSBURG, Warren County — State troopers are investigating a plane crash near Caesar Creek State Park off Harveysburg Road Wednesday afternoon.

The crash was reported just before 4 p.m. and involves a single-engine plane, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Troopers shared a photo of the plane, which shows it upside down in the lake

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Troopers said there were two people on board and there were no injuries.

The airplane involved in the crash is a 1946 Aeronca 11AC fixed-wing single-engine plane, according to FAA records.

Ryan Bennington, a flight instructor from Dayton, said he and a student took off from the Warren County Airport and were doing basic maneuvers when they experienced engine failure over Caesar Creek Lake.

When it happened, Bennington said he and the student began to look to identify and rectify any issues.

“Nothing indicated something was wrong. There was no anticipation of anything going wrong,” Bennington said.

The student was at the controls, but Bennington said he took over as soon as they experience the engine failure.

Bennington said they glided toward the lake’s coastline and landed in shallow water. He described the moment of impact as “chaotic.”

It was when the wheels of the plane hit the water, that the plane flipped, something that Sgt. Robert Burd, of the OSHP Lebanon Post, explained would happen.

“If those wheels aren’t turning at the same speed, or turning at all, when they hit a surface, there’s that instant friction. The water is gonna grab that landing gear and its going to flip the airplane, usually about every time,” Burd said on scene.

Bennington said he and the student were able to quickly open the doors and safely exit the plane. Neither of the pilots were injured in the crash.

Burd said it was a “very good day” based on the outcome. He said in instances like this, “survival is very important.”

“A very calm mindset will save your life,” Burd said.

With more than 2,300 hours of experience under his belt, Bennington said he was able to stay calm during the incident and won’t second guess flying because of it.

“Don’t be afraid to fly,” Bennington said.