Pilot suffers minor injuries in crash of experimental plane

CALUMET – A Houghton County pilot suffered minor injuries Sunday when the experimental single-engine airplane he was operating crashed into a tree.

Michigan State Police at the Calumet post said the incident was reported at 5 p.m. in Portage Township.

Douglas McKenzie of Hancock was piloting the aircraft and was the sole occupant of the plane. Police said preliminary findings in an investigation into the incident showed the plane was executing a take-off maneuver when a strong gust of wind pushed the plane into the top of a tree, causing the aircraft to crash.

Police said McKenzie suffered minor injuries and sought his own treatment at Portage Health System. He was driven to the hospital by personal vehicle.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the crash. The FAA authorized release of the plane to McKenzie, who made arrangements to have the aircraft removed from the scene.

Police said no fire or rescue personnel were dispatched to the crash site. The investigation is continuing.

State police were assisted by the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.