A recent Bowling Green State University graduate piloting an aerial advertising plane for a Lake Township company was killed yesterday when the plane struck power lines, then crashed onto an entrance ramp for U.S. 22 in Steubenville, Ohio.
Scott M. Holland, 22, of North Ridgeville in Lorain County, Ohio, was pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. John Metcalf, the Jefferson County, Ohio, coroner.
Mr. Holland, who graduated from BGSU in May with a bachelor's degree in aviation studies, was flying the single-engine, two-seat Piper aircraft en route to Allegheny County Airport near Pittsburgh, said Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla.
Authorities believe he planned to fly aerial banner ads in connection with last night's Major League All-Star Game at PNC Park, Sheriff Abdalla said.
Banners for the Hooters restaurant chain and other businesses were in the plane along with maps of the Pittsburgh area, the sheriff said. Mr. Holland's father told authorities his son was headed there to tow banners during game-related activities.
FAA officials yesterday said they knew of no waivers that would have permitted the plane to fly over or near PNC Park. Flight restrictions in place since the 2001 terrorist attacks bar aircraft flying within a three-mile radius or at less than 3,000 feet before, during, and after major sporting events over stadiums holding more than 30,000 people.
Sheriff Abdalla said the plane was owned by Drake Aerial Enterprises LLC, doing business as Air America Aerial Advertising Ltd., 25228 Bradner Rd., Lake Township.
Dr. Metcalf said Mr. Holland had a part-time job with the aerial-advertising firm, which has a Genoa mailing address but is just inside Wood County near the Ottawa County line.
Air America owner Jim Miller declined repeated requests yesterday for comment.
The plane took off at 9:30 a.m. from Toledo Metcalf Field in Lake Township and crashed at 11:25 a.m. onto the entrance ramp of U.S. 22 just west of downtown Steubenville, Sheriff Abdalla said. No one else was on the plane, and no vehicles on the highway were struck when the plane crashed after striking power lines above the highway, he said.
"There's no question that it hit the power lines,'' he said. "It crashed and part of the wing came off."
Sheriff Abdalla said the cause of the crash has not been determined, but the plane had just passed Jefferson County's airport in Wintersville, Ohio, with no indication of problems. The National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA, the Ohio Highway Patrol, and the sheriff's office are investigating.
The Piper plane was built in 1954 and had a valid FAA registration, federal records show. The crash forced authorities to close the westbound lanes of U.S. 22 for more than an hour.
Cindi Lash is a staff writer for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Post-Gazette and The Blade are members of Block News Alliance.