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Curtiss pilot still in critical condition

PENN YAN—After sustaining a crash landing with the replica Albany Flyer at the Penn Yan Airport, Friday, June 18, pilot Harlan “Jim” Poel, 67, is still in critical condition.
Poel was test flying a replica biplane constructed by the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum’s restoration shop. Museum Director Trafford Doherty said the crash happened just after 3 p.m., Friday.
Doherty said he spoke with doctors Monday and that Poel is still in critical condition at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He added the doctors said it would be a lengthy recovery, but the hospital is now taking preventative measures.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” said Doherty. He pointed out Poel was fortunate that in the crash the engine did not fall on him. Doherty explained the engine is located behind the pilot, and that the pilot is basically at the very front of the plane.
He added the plane, on its maiden flight, was totally destroyed. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently looking into the crash. Doherty said they have already ruled out engine failure as the cause of the accident, because evidence showed the engine was operating at the time of the crash.
Doherty said it is up to the renovation shop on whether to rebuild the plane. He said there are some salvageable parts, but the work still take several years. Doherty added what’s left of the plane will remain in a Penn Yan Airport hanger until the FAA releases it to the museum.

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