September 16, 2009

Empty plane rolls into building

Authorities in Florida said a small runaway plane with no one inside rolled into a building at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville.

Scott Gaenicke, Titusville Fire Department spokesman, said pilot Don Poppino told investigators the Cessna 152 began rolling away from him after he started it with a hand crank shortly before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Florida Today reported Wednesday.

Gaenicke said the plane moved about half a mile down a runway and crashed into the Bistow Air Center building, tearing off the plane's wings.

This had the potential to be a lot worse than it was, Gaenicke said. Just another couple of feet and it could have gone into the building and created a much bigger mess than we have."

The spokesman said Poppino was knocked to the ground and suffered some scrapes but refused medical treatment.

He's fine, just a little shaken up, Gaenicke said. He's very upset he lost his aircraft, which is understandable.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating the incident.