One killed in Birchwood plane crash

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - 10:15

A Saturday afternoon air crash killed one person as a fabric-covered Champion Citabria, fully engulfed in flames upon impact near the intersection of the Birchwood Spur Road and Stoltze Road.

“The victim in today’s plane crash was not immediately identifiable,” Anita Shell, Anchorage Police Department spokesperson said via email to The Star Saturday night. “The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office. They will use dental records to confirm identification.”

Anchorage resident Christopher Lampshire has been identified as the deceased in the Aug. 13 air crash at the intersection of the Birchwood Spur Road and Stoltze Road near the Birchwood Airport. Lampshire was 43 years old and his next of kin have been notified by the Anchorage Police Department. Officials from the National Transportation Safety continue to investigate the air crash.

Initial reports of a second victim proved false.

“At this point, we don't have any indications of a second victim. Only one was found in the wreckage,” Shell said, adding that the victim’s age is older than 18.

The Facebook page Chugiak Neighborhood Watch posted around 2 p.m. with a photo and a video by a witness to the fire upon impact. The crash was reported at 1:32 p.m., according to Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department Chief Clifton Dalton who said eight units were initially sent to the crash site on the northern side of the Birchwood Airport.

Mike Skupniewitz, a Chugiak resident, posted a photo of the fire and a video of the area where the plane crashed, labeled his post with the following, “Plane crash & burn. Birchwood engine quit on takeoff. Tried to turn back.”

APD Chief Chris Tolley was on site shortly after the crash report. He told KTVA television that, “(The plane) crashed and immediately burst into flames, according to witnesses.”

National Transportation Safety Board officials were still conducting their investigation in to the air crash as of Saturday night. Mike Hodges, an NTSB spokesperson, said the plane crashed shortly after taking off from runway 2 right. He said witnesses report hearing two popping noises before the crash.

Due to the air crash site’s close proximity to the road, the Birchwood Spur Road was closed for several hours denying direct access to the Birchwood Recreation and Shooting Park facility and the northern side of the airport. APD sent out a Nixle alert to notify drivers of the closure.

Airport hangar and land owner Lee Wareham opened the gate near his hangar at APD request allowing APD to use a pilot car to escort commuters past the Birchwood Hangar Association’s 24 condo-style hangars to and from the southern and northern sides of the airport while investigation of the crash continued.

The Champion Citabria is a single-engine, two-seat aircraft manufactured by the Champion Aircraft Corporation in Osceola, Wis. Its fuselage and tail surfaces are made of welded metal tubing. Its outer shape of the fuselage is created with a combination of wooden formers and longerons – the longitudinal structural component of an aircraft's fuselage often referred to as the stringer – that are covered with fabric.

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