Female pilot crashes ultralight on runway

June 20, 2009 3:58:06 PM PDT
A pilot was injured Friday evening when her small aircraft crashed into a runway at the Petaluma airport, Petaluma fire battalion Chief Michael Ahlin said.

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Police and fire crews responded to the airport at 601 Sky Ranch Drive at about 7:30 p.m. on reports of a plane down, and found an Ultralight aircraft that had crashed at the south end of the runway, according to a Petaluma police report.

San Francisco resident Caroline Paul, 45, the pilot and sole occupant of the aircraft, was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital to be treated for moderate injuries, according to police. No further information regarding Paul's condition was being released.

Ultralights are single-seat, open-cockpit aircraft that do not exceed 155 pounds of unpowered weight, have a maximum speed of 55 knots and a maximum fuel capacity of 5 gallons, according to the Experimental Aircraft Association Web site.

Police this morning reported that Paul was attempting to land the Ultralight when she lost control still 20 feet in the air, crashing into the runway.

"We had some pretty strong winds, ...coming out of the west and gusting at times," Ahlin said. A preliminary police investigation suggested that windy conditions may have been a factor in the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the incident and will handle all further investigation, according to police.

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