13 Investigates: Stunt plane that crashed in Standish had crashed before

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13 Investigates: Stunt plane that crashed in Standish had crashed before story image

STANDISH (WGME) - Federal investigators are looking into a crash landing on a busy road in Standish. A stunt pilot walked away from the crash with just a couple of cuts. The FAA says the plane went down after it experienced an engine related problem.

FAA records show this is an amateur built aircraft, registered in Indiana. 13 Investigates reviewed hundreds of aviation crash reports and found that same plane was in a crash before. According to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the plane, registered to the same pilot, crashed into some trees two years ago during an airshow in Indiana. "The pilot reported that the primary caused of the accident was 'misjudgment in the distance,'" according to the report.

13 Investigates also found nearly 15% of all plane crashes in the past year involved amateur built planes.

Pilot Billy Werth tells CBS 13 he left an airshow in Frenchville then realized he had a problem and needed a place to land. He says his first concern was avoiding several cars on Route 35, which he was able to do.

Werth is all about the extreme thrill ride. In fact, he's made a business performing at airshows and taking people on the ultimate ride. But Sunday the airborne excitement became all too much when federal investigators say his plane had engine trouble.

"I didn't have a whole lot of choice on where to set the airplane down," Werth said.

So Werth decided to land the plane on Route 35 in Standish.

"There were four cars on the road, that I could see coming at me, but they were behind the trees so I knew they wouldn't see me. I tried to fly it a little longer so I could miss those cars, which I did, so nobody got hurt," Werth said.

According to records obtained by CBS 13, there have been 132 accidents or in the United States involving an amateur built plane in just a year. Forty of those were deadly crashes, killing 51 people. Werth says he's thankful he wasn't seriously hurt.

"I only have two stitches so other than the damage to the plane which I'm upset about, everything else is fine," Werth said.

This is the first amateur built plane crash in Maine during the past year. But we searched federal records back to 2000 and counted 17 of them including a deadly crash in Mercer back in 2002. Investigators say a pilot from Farmingdale crashed into a steel cable in Somerset County. The FAA won't comment on the safety of amateur built planes but says every one of them is inspected before being certified for what it calls "airworthiness."

Records show Werth's single engine plane was inspected by the FAA after it was built in 2007. Werth says it was built by a friend of his in Indianapolis. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate Sunday's crash.

13 Investigates: Stunt plane that crashed in Standish had crashed before
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