Pilot injured in Fairview Twp. ultralight crash

Liz Evans Scolforo

A Mechanicsburg-area man survived after crashing his ultralight aircraft in Fairview Township, police said.

James Diebold Jr., 68, was trying to take off from a grass runway in Fairview Township in this Powrachute Sky Rascal when it crashed.

It happened about 8 p.m. Tuesday when James Diebold Jr., 68, was trying to take off in a Powrachute Sky Rascal, which is a one-man aircraft, using a grass runway, according to police.

"His parachute didn't fully deploy, so he was pulled in one direction," Fairview Township Police Chief Jason Loper said. "He was just taking off, and it doesn't sound like he had gained a lot of (altitude)."

It's believed Diebold and his ultralight climbed to perhaps 20 feet when the craft fell to the ground in a field adjacent to the 700 block of Markham Court, police said.

He was taken to Holy Spirit Hospital, but his injuries aren't believed to be life-threatening, according to Loper.

"He was talking and cooperative at the scene," the chief said.

Police said the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the crash.

Loper said there have been forced landings of helicopters and small airplanes in the past in Fairview Township because of its proximity to Capitol City Airport. He said it's been years since the last ultralight went down unexpectedly in the township.

An ultralight crash in Fairview Township in August 2007 injured nothing but the pilot's pride, The York Dispatch reported at the time.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.