Yuma, AZ Military Plane Crashes Into Hangar, Dec 1979


Yuma (AP) -- Military authorities are trying to determine today the cause of a crash which the owner of an aircraft-repair business was killed and three others were injured when a U.S. Navy jet crashed into a hangar at Yuma International Airport.
Witnesses said the Navy Skyhawk flew for more than a mile about 10 feet off the ground Monday after the pilot ejected on take-off.
It finally crashed into a concrete-block hangar and came out 80-feet away on the other side, killing one man inside the building and damaging a half-dozen planes. Debris was scattered for 300 to 400 yards.
PAUL BURCH, 67, owner of the hangar, was killed in the crash. Two employees in the hanger were "Blown outside the structure," but were not injured, authorities said.
Two persons in a nearby trailer and a man standing near his airplane were injured.
The pilot, Ensign PATRICK COYLE, 24, of Philadelphia, was not injured. He was taking off on a weapons-training flight when the crash occurred. The jet was attached to a training squadron at the Naval Air Station at Beeville, Texas.
"I saw this jet coming toward me for a mile," said attorney BRIAN SMITH, who was suddenly ordered by the tower to abort a take off in his small plane. "It wasn't more than 10 feet above the ground. I thought sure there was a pilot in it."

Casa Grande Dispatch Arizona 1979-12-18