LEE — An “ultralight” plane crashed into an empty building in the town of Lee on Monday morning at about 8:30 a.m.
Plane operator Ronald S. Richards Jr., 66, of Blossvale, reportedly lost control of the single-engine craft when that engine failed, according to the state police news release on the incident.
The plane crashed into the roof of the building at 4931 Lee Valley Road.
Mr. Richards was taken to Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, where his leg injuries were treated. By Monday afternoon, he was listed in stable condition.
Mr. Richards was piloting a Phantom ultralight, which is a unit that is partially user-assembled from a kit sub-assembled by the manufacturer, in this case Phantom Aeronautics in Kalamazoo, Mich.
According to information on the U.S. Ultralight Association website, the FAA “does not require ultralights to have any proof of airworthiness,” noting it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure an ultralight plane is safe to fly.
Pilots must complete training through an FAA-recognized program, but the FAA does not certify ultralight pilots specifically. Instruction time for the courses range from 10 to 15 hours.
According to Mr. Richards’ Facebook page, he is a Navy veteran who specialized in air craft communications, navigation and Doppler radar.
A photo of the red ultralight glider with a “cockpit” suspended under the wing and motor assembly appeared on Mr. Richards’ social media in 2011.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.