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Engine Failure Cited as Cause of C-172 Crash

A 42-year-old Maryland man was hospitalized with minor injuries Wednesday afternoon following a crash of his Cessna 172 shortly after takeoff from Winchester Regional Airport.  Jonathan D. Behnke of Mount Airy was piloting the Skyhawk and was the only person on board the aircraft when it apparently experienced engine failure.

The aircraft was headed west when it attempted an emergency landing in a field near the intersection of Back Mountain and Fishel roads in Frederick County.  The C-172, which was built in 1960, nosedived into a hill in the field, flipped over and slid about 75 feet.  The front landing gear broke off on impact and landed about 10 yards away, according to Virginia State Police.  The VSP’s preliminary investigation points to engine failure shortly after takeoff.

Winchester Regional Airport Executive Director Nick Sabo said the aircraft, which has a maximum speed of 105 mph, is not based out of that airport.