Sonex Crashes Into Condo, Pilot Killed


A pilot died when his Sonex airplane crashed into the roof of a condo complex near Lawrence Municipal Airport in Massachusetts on Tuesday afternoon. The pilot, identified by local media as Alan Lavender, 73, a sport pilot from nearby Newburyport, had taken off from the airport and was planning to stay in the pattern to practice takeoffs and landings. His last transmission was about three minutes later, while he was in the pattern to land, but it was a routine call with no report of any problem. Two condo apartments were damaged by the crash and a small fire that broke out, but nobody was home in either one, and no one on the ground was hurt. Sprinklers in the building helped contain the fire, officials said.

Lavender, a former Newburyport city councilman and mayor, held a sport pilot certificate issued in May 2014, according to local news reports. The airplane involved in the crash flew for the first time in May 2016. The condo complex was hit once before in a plane crash, in 1999; four people in the airplane were seriously hurt.