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Pilot Is Critically Injured in Single-Engine Plane Crash

Aviation: Camarillo man known as a stickler for aircraft safety loses power after takeoff at Oxnard Airport.

September 09, 2002|TIMOTHY HUGHES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 41-year-old Camarillo man was critically injured Sunday when his homemade single-engine plane lost power and crashed shortly after taking off from Oxnard Airport.

Jack Lockamy, a weapons testing director at Naval Base Ventura County, was reported in critical condition at Ventura County Medical Center after his plane crashed just west of the airport's runway about 11 a.m., officials said.

"He was taking off and was in the air toward the end of the runway when he turned away and crashed into the field," said Christopher R. Hastert, the Oxnard Airport manager. "It appeared to be engine failure, but until we can take a report from the pilot I won't know for sure."

Hastert said investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to conduct the investigation.

Lockamy spent nearly two years building the single-seat kit plane, called a Sonex, before flying it for the first time in May, according to Lockamy's Web site.

Sunday morning, Lockamy radioed the airport's control tower shortly after takeoff to report engine trouble and request an emergency landing, said Oxnard Police Cmdr. Tom Chronister.

Lockamy's lightweight plane bounced after a hard landing and skidded to a stop, witnesses said. He was ejected from the aircraft.

A flying colleague of Lockamy's described him as a stickler on aircraft safety who often instructed other members of the Point Mugu Navy Flying Club on how to prevent accidents. The club is based at Camarillo Airport and is composed of current or retired military personnel.

"He's really knowledgeable and safety-minded," said Gary LaPook, a member of the flying club and an attorney specializing in airplane crash investigations. "I see cases all the time where something goes wrong and it surprises me that it happens to experienced pilots. Jack was always safety-conscious, but these things can jump up and bite you."

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