Fort Scott, KS Private Plane Crash, Feb 1979



Fort Scott, Kan. (AP) - Bourbon County authorities said a man who was not a licensed pilot was killed and three children were injured when the single-engine aircraft he was trying to fly Monday night apparently stalled and crashed just after takeoff.
Sheriff Harold Stewart said the Cessna Skyhawk crashed shortly after lifting off from the Fort Scott Airport in southeast Kansas.
There was no fire, but the plane was destroyed.
JOHNNIE JOHNSON, 36, of Fort Scott, was killed, the sheriff said. JOHNSON'S 11-year-old son, JOHNNIE, and 14-year-old daughter, ROSE, were critically injured and were taken to the University of Kansas Medical Center. Another passenger, LYNETTE VANN, 14, was admitted to a Fort Scott hospital for observation.
A spokeswoman in the sheriff's office said today the aircraft was owned by Steve Spillbush, manager of the airport. She said JOHNSON told attendants at the airport that he had permission to use the plane. But Spillbush told the sheriff's office that JOHNSON did not have a pilot's license and he had not given permission for him to use the plane.
A police department spokesman said conditions were clear with little wind at the time of the crash. The airport is located two miles southwest of the city.
The VANN girl, who suffered a broken right arm, said the plane was bound for South Carolina where JOHNSON, the manager of a Fort Scott tavern, planned to pick up another person.
But the girl's mother, Joann Vann, 38, said she had been told the JOHNSONS' and her daughter were going to drive to Kansas City before catching a commercial flight.
"I didn't know that he (JOHNSON) was going to drive the plane from here," she said.
The VANN girl said the crash occurred when the plane lifted off, turned sideways and plunged to the ground.
ROSE JOHNSON was listed in critical condition today at the Kansas University Medical Center, while her brother was reported in serious condition.

Garden City Telegram Kansas 1979-02-27