A Wayne County resident’s plane crashed Sunday morning in a field after takeoff,  just south of Richmond Municipal Airport along Indiana 227.

Judson J. Costlow, 78, of Richmond had taken off shortly before 8 a.m. to visit family in Arizona, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. Coley McCutcheon, the regional public information officer based at ISP’s Pendleton Post.

About 7:50 a.m., Costlow had texted his wife that he was about to leave the airport, McCutcheon said.

The remains of Costlow’s plane, which had caught fire, were visible from the two-lane highway.

Costlow was the only person on board the plane and died at the scene, McCutcheon said. The pilot was flying a yellow and blue Aerotrek A240.

Aeropro CZ describes the A240 a light sport aircraft on its website, saying it’s designed as a high-wing monoplane. The two-seat factory-built aircraft are manufactured in Europe. Aeropro has been producing planes since 1990 with more than 600 aircraft flying around the world.

A cause for the crash was unavailable on Sunday morning. Staff from ISP and Wayne County coroner’s office were present, awaiting the arrival of investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

A crash reconstruction team from ISP had begun using a drone over the scene to record footage as they waited for the aviation experts.

News crews from WHIO-TV 7 from Dayton, Ohio, and WWTV CBS 4 from Indianapolis also were gathering information at the site in addition to local media.

Richmond Municipal Airport Manager Rodney Mayse said a lineman was working at the airport early Sunday morning. The lineman had told the manager it was “pretty foggy” at the time of the crash.

“It’s a somber day,” Mayse said.

Mayse said the last fatal plane crash at the airport took place about 25 years ago when two planes collided. In that incident, each plane had a flying instructor and a student on board. One person died after the crash at a hospital.

Read more on this crash in the print edition of Western Wayne News that will be on store racks on Tuesday afternoon around the county and in local mailboxes starting Wednesday. 

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Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.