Plane down

Michael Moore / Sentinel Staff

Paramedics checked two people after what Swanzey Fire Chief Norman W. Skantze described as a “hard landing” at Dillant-Hopkins Airport Tuesday afternoon, but he said both declined treatment. “We’re pleased that nobody was hurt,” Skantze said.

Two men walked away unscathed after the small plane they were in made a hard landing at Keene’s Dillant-Hopkins Airport in North Swanzey Tuesday afternoon.

Swanzey Fire Chief Norman W. Skantze said his department received a report of a plane crash from Southwestern N.H. District Fire Mutual Aid at approximately 2:10 p.m. Both the Swanzey Fire Department and the Keene Fire Department responded to the scene.

According to Skantze, the plane was a Beechcraft Baron 95-B55, a light, twin-engine aircraft that he said is typically used for training purposes. When first responders arrived on the scene, Skantze said, the plane was in the middle of the airport’s second runway.

“It wasn’t really a crash as much as it was a hard landing,” Skantze said.

Paramedics checked the two men, who both declined treatment, according to Skantze. Meanwhile, firefighters inspected the plane for damage or leaks and determined there were no immediate safety hazards. After about 45 minutes, Skantze said, he turned the scene over to airport staff, who moved the plane to a secure location for further investigation.

The incident is now being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, according to Skantze, who added that he does not believe there was a malfunction or mechanical problem with the aircraft.

“This was basically a low-level response from us,” Skantze said. “We’re pleased that nobody was hurt.”

According to the FAA’s database, the plane is owned by the U.S. Air Force and registered at Hanscom Air Force Base in Middlesex, Mass. It is used by the Aero Club, a flight school at the base that provides training for base ID holders, including active-duty service members and their families, Department of Defense personnel and base contractors, according to the base’s website.

Dillant-Hopkins Airport is owned and operated by the city of Keene. John G. “Jack” Wozmak, the former longtime Cheshire County administrator, has been its manager since 2016.

“It really was just a hard landing,” Wozmak said of the crash. “The pilot did a good job keeping the plane straight and on the runway.”

Wozmak said he expects the investigation to begin Wednesday.

“At this point we’re maintaining custody of the plane until the FAA shows up and does what they do,” he added. "They’ll examine the plane and begin to figure out what caused the incident."

William Holt can be reached at 355-1234 extension 1435, or wholt@keenesentinel.com.