Pilot Hurt In Curtiss Replica Crash

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Officials of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, N.Y., say their summer flying schedule is in doubt after the crash of one of its aircraft Friday seriously injured their chief pilot. Jim Poel, 67, is in critical but stable condition in an upstate New York hospital after the 1910 replica Curtiss Albany Flyer he was flying went down in a cornfield about a quarter of a mile from Penn Yan / Yates County Airport. "To rebuild it would take a couple of years, so it's ... changing our game plan for our flying programs for 2010 and 2011," Trafford Doherty, the museum's executive director, told the Elmira Star-Gazette. The aircraft was slated for some high-profile flights this summer.

The plane was a copy of the one used by Curtiss on a historic flight from Albany to New York City in 1910 and the museum had planned to re-enact that flight. It was also due to fly from an aircraft carrier in San Diego to mark the 100th anniversary of naval aviation and take part in centennial celebrations at the naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., later this year. Doherty suggested that since those opportunities will be lost, there may be no point in rebuilding the bamboo-and-fabric plane, which was powered by an original Curtiss OX-5 engine. "I don't think that two years down the line we'll have a need for the aircraft," he said, adding that the final decision will be up to the staff of the restoration shop.