ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A North Carolina man is thankful to be alive after his plane crashed in a field off Plank Road in Albemarle County. The plane is upside down, but the pilot is walking away with just a few scrapes.

Sixty-one-year-old Robert Fecteau says he was traveling from Hickory, North Carolina to Warrenton, Virginia when his Cessna Skyhawk started experiencing engine issues. The pilot believes his plane suffered from oil pressure failure about 15 miles north of Lynchburg.

Fecteau tried to make an emergency landing at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, but realized he would not be able to make it that far.

Emergency crews were dispatched around 9:40 a.m. Thursday, August 8.

Fecteau lost control of the plane while trying to land it on an unofficial airstrip on private property.

“The pilot said that he had engine failure. He made an emergency landing, and then he ran through the gate through the fence here, and then he got the hay bale, and the plane flipped over,” said Zachary Harris, Virginia State Police.

Police say Fecteau was wearing his seat belt when he crashed. The pilot was bandaged up by EMTs on the scene.

"Couple minor lacerations to his head, and he had one on his neck, and some on his arms and legs," Harris explained. "Just little cuts, no major injuries."

The crash is under investigation, and the NTSB and FAA have responded to the scene.


08/08/2019 Updated Release from Virginia State Police:

At 9:36 a.m. Thursday (Aug. 8), Virginia State Police Trooper Z.C. Harris was alerted to a small, private plane in distress and needing to make an emergency landing.

The 1976 Cessna Skyhawk made a crash landing in a field in the 5200 block of Plank Road. The aircraft overturned and came to rest upside down.

The pilot, Robert J. Fecteau, 61, of Taylorsville, N.C., suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene. He was the plane's only occupant.

The plane was en route to Warrenton, Va., from Hickory, N.C.

The NTSB was notified and the FAA responded to the scene. Engine failure is being investigated as a factor in the cause of the crash.