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Air Crash Studied for Possible Link to Landing of Reagan’s Jet

Associated Press

Federal authorities investigating the crash of a small plane near Frederick, Md., were looking Saturday into whether the crash might be connected with the landing at about the same time of a jet carrying President Reagan.

The wreckage of a single-engine Piper Arrow that crashed Friday evening was found in mountainous terrain west of Frederick shortly after dawn Saturday. The pilot, identified as Ronald Lee Spring, 36, of Fairfield, Pa., was killed.

Crashed 20 Minutes Later

According to the National Transportation Safety Board and the White House, preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration indicates the Piper crashed about 20 minutes after the landing at Frederick of a small Gulfstream II jet carrying the President.

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The President and his wife, Nancy, were bound for the presidential retreat at Camp David and flew into nearby Frederick airport because rain and fog prevented them from taking a helicopter directly to the retreat.

There was speculation that the arrival of the President’s plane might have caused the smaller plane to be ordered into a holding pattern until Reagan’s plane landed.

Alan Pollock, a spokesman for the transportation board, said he had no preliminary information that the Piper was ordered to delay its landing, but he said air traffic communications with the plane would be reviewed as part of the investigation.

“We still have to check the information out,” Pollock said.

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Hours of Fuel Left

Maj. Robert Ayres of the Maryland wing of the Civil Air Patrol said the Piper had two to three hours of fuel left in its tanks when it crashed.

White House spokeswoman Liz Murphy said the President’s plane landed at Frederick at 5:32 p.m. Friday.

Pollock said preliminary information from the FAA showed that the Piper was given clearance to land at 5:38 p.m. but that the plane disappeared from radar at 5:53 p.m.


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