A Michigan pilot died and his passenger was injured after a small plane crashed Saturday morning at an airfield just north of Bryan, Ohio, authorities said.
The pilot, Leslie Dean, was trying to land his single-engine plane about 8:30 a.m. on the grass runway at Bryan Aero Park when another aircraft was landing from the opposite direction, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
It’s not clear why the planes were trying to land at the same time, but investigators believe the morning sun may have obscured Dean’s vision.
The sun could have played a factor because he was approaching from the west to the east, Highway Patrol Sgt. M.L. McClain said. That is our speculation at this time.
In avoiding the other plane, Dean tried to gain altitude and veer to the left, but his plane for some reason lost power and crashed in a neighboring farm field, witnesses told investigators.
The other plane did not crash, McClain said.
Dean, 62, and his passenger, Kent Hyne, 51, were flown to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo.
Dean died from his injuries about 1:15 p.m., McClain said. Hyne was in fair condition Saturday afternoon, according to hospital staff.
McClain described Bryan Aero Park as an uncontrolled airfield without a control tower. A man who answered the phone at the airfield declined to comment.
Saturday afternoon, investigators had not yet interviewed Hyne, but they hoped he could shed light on how the crash happened.
He seems to be in stable condition, so we should be able to get all the information we can from him, McClain said.
Dean assembled his plane, a 2010 model, from a kit, and he lived on the same road as Hyne in Ann Arbor, Mich., according to the patrol.
Along with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.