July 5, 2005, Branchville, N.J. / Grumman American AA-5


The airplane was destroyed during a forced landing at about 1300 Eastern time following an in-flight fire. The Commercial pilot was seriously injured; visual conditions prevailed.While in cruise flight, the pilot smelled what seemed like electrical smoke. He responded by opening the canopy to vent the cabin, and fire came out from under the instrument panel. He subsequently closed the canopy, and the fire appeared to diminish. He then chose to attempt a forced landing on top of the Kittatinny Ridge in Stokes State Forest. After the airplane came to rest, the pilot exited un-eventfully despite back injuries, and noticed that the airplane and surrounding foliage was on fire. He then realized that he had forgotten some paperwork, and attempted to re-enter the airplane, sustaining burns to his arms in the process.


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