An 83-year-old Bradenton pilot was seriously injured Sunday when his experimental aircraft went down in Hillsborough County shortly after takeoff.
Eugene Massa was transported to Blake Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition.
The incident occurred at approximately 9:30 a.m., just a few minutes after the plane took off from the Manatee Airport in Palmetto.
According to a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue report emergency crews found the aircraft in a field just off US Highway 41 South near the Hillsborough/Manatee county line.
Massa was the only occupant and there was no fuel spill or fire. He told first responders that his engine stalled just after takeoff.
Investigators describe the plane as being a small, ultra-light fixed wing aircraft. An employee of the Manatee Airport called 9-1-1 after Massa called the tower to report engine trouble.
Once the aircraft reached approximately 300 feet the pilot said the engine stalled and sputtered.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration were dispatched to the scene and will pick up the investigation.
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