Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Oct. 26, 2021

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Vancouver man killed in Camas plane crash at Grove Field

A passenger in the vintage craft — Mark Lewallen’s friend and flight instructor — was seriously injured

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:
4 Photos
Crews work Thursday to remove a small plane that crashed into the far west hangar at Grove Field. A family member said Mark Lewallen of Vancouver died in the crash, while a second pilot providing instruction was seriously injured in the crash, which occurred around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the incident Thursday.
Crews work Thursday to remove a small plane that crashed into the far west hangar at Grove Field. A family member said Mark Lewallen of Vancouver died in the crash, while a second pilot providing instruction was seriously injured in the crash, which occurred around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the incident Thursday. (Joshua Hart/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A Vancouver man was killed Wednesday afternoon when his vintage aircraft crashed into a hangar on the northwestern end of Grove Field airport north of Camas.

His daughter, Rebecca Perala of Vancouver, identified him Thursday as 69-year-old Mark Lewallen.

The National Transportation Safety Board posted on Twitter that the involved plane was a Consolidated Vultee BT-13A, a World War II-era trainer aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration registry shows the plane was manufactured in 1941 and had been registered to Lewallen since October 2012.

A passenger in Lewallen’s aircraft, whose name has not been released, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital with traumatic injuries, according to the authorities.

The man was a friend of Lewallen’s and a flight instructor, who has a nearly identical plane and tens of thousands of hours of flying experience, said Perala, 45.

Lewallen was also an experienced pilot, she said, and he had flown off and on since he was a teenager, with hundreds of flying hours under his belt.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies and East County Fire & Rescue personnel responded at 3:13 p.m. for the aircraft emergency at Grove Field, 632 N.E. 267th Ave., about 3 miles north of Camas.

Initial reports indicated that one person was trapped inside the aircraft and another was outside of it. Two ambulances were called to the scene, but one was later canceled, according to emergency radio traffic monitored by The Columbian.

East County Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Mike Carnes said the pilot later identified as Lewallen was seated in the front of the plane and receiving training from the pilot in the rear of the aircraft. Carnes said he was unsure if the plane was connected to the flight school at Grove Field.

The cause of the crash is unknown. The NTSB and FAA were on scene Thursday investigating.

Perala said the family doesn’t know much about what happened, other than the crash occurred either on the landing or final touch-and-go before landing for the day.

She said, according to the passenger, Lewallen came in a bit fast, landed and started to take off into the grass.

“He powered up with the hope of pulling back up into the air and going back around to correct the landing. That’s when he lost control,” Perala said in an email. “We don’t know yet whether it was airplane, person or environment, or all three.”

Grove Field is owned and operated by the Port of Camas-Washougal. The airfield was closed most of Thursday for the crash investigation.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and the family and friends of the deceased,” Sadie Hayes, the Port’s community relations specialist, said in a statement.

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