Investigation continues into Iowa City plane crash - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Investigation continues into Iowa City plane crash

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Iowa City (KWWL) -- The pilot of a plane that crashed into an Iowa City neighborhood remains in serious condition as investigators piece together exactly what happened. The FAA's initial investigation found the airplane's engine failed.

The plane went down shortly after 8:00 pm Monday on Edingale Drive, just yards from a runway at the Iowa City Airport. It's the third crash at or near the Iowa City Airport in four months.

"I don't believe there's any correlation between the three of them that we've had recently," said Iowa City Airport Operations Manager Mike Tharp, "and I believe that the final investigation reports will reveal that."

Pilot Jim Meade was approaching the airport's secondary runway when he clipped a tree and came down in the street. The primary runway is being extended about eight hundred feet to meet modern safety standards. The secondary runway has been the only option since July. The airport's primary runway is scheduled to re-open on October 20th.

"That one unfortunately has a direct approach over the residential area and unfortunately that's the runway these last few times that have had an accident associated with it," said Tharp.

Meade is a flight instructor for Jet Air. Company President Harrel Timmons visited Meade in the hospital shortly after the crash. The fact that there was no fire led one pilot we spoke to at the scene to speculate that meade may have run out of gas, but Timmons says the plane still had fuel.

"There was fuel in the tanks. That's always one of the first things I check, but the state the airplane was in, it was hard to tell," Timmons told KWWL in a phone interview. "Only the guy that's up there getting his nose fixed right now really knows what happened."

As for pilot Jim Meade, despite being admitted in serious condition, Timmons says when he visited him in the hospital shortly after the crash, his spirits were good, that his injuries were limited to a broken nose and cheekbone. In fact, he put it in automotive terms, characterizing the crash as nothing more than a fender bender.

It could be up to a year before we know for sure what caused the crash.

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