Groveland Man at Controls of Small Aircraft that Made Forced Landing July 3 at Ward Hill Farm

The plane is placed on trailer just feet from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range station. (WHAV News photograph.)

An 82-year-old Groveland man was the pilot of the small plane that made a forced, but safe, landing in Ward Hill July 3.

A review of the plane’s records on file with the Federal Aviation Administration and talks with volunteers who helped after the crash at Crescent Farm, off Willow Avenue, reveal the small Pipistrel Sinus airplane was piloted by Thomas W. Walsh of Groveland.

Farm owner C. Michael Davidowicz told WHAV earlier that he was among the first to tend to the pilot, saying the man “was already outside the plane” when he arrived. Davidowicz said the only injury he observed was a small cut on the man’s forehead.

Attempts to reach Walsh have been unsuccessful.

The crash happened just before 8:30 p.m., where fireworks onlookers typically gather just a bit later to see the display from above Haverhill Stadium. The pilot reportedly encountered engine problems and was aiming to glide south to Lawrence Municipal Airport when the plane came down near an FAA beacon located at the farm. The plane lost the front landing wheel, skidded about 19 yards and a wing came to rest against a wooden farm fence.

An FAA spokesman confirmed to WHAV that night that only the pilot was on board and the craft made “a forced landing in a field” 1.5 miles northeast of the airport.

According to FAA records, the plane was built in 2013 and contained the Austrian-built Rotax engine. The aircraft is classified as a light sport glider.

A three-person crew removed the remains of the aircraft the next day.

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