An 82-year-old man is lucky to be alive, after he crashed his plane in a field right near his home in Laconia, New Hampshire.
Just before 9 o'clock Thursday morning, witnesses heard the rumbling of a plane engine, then sputtering, and seconds later, silence.
"Shortly after he departed he was having engine problems and was able to clear house and trees with one last surge of the engine before he couldn't maintain the altitude," said NTSB Senior Safety Investigator Leah Yeager.
Yeager says the pilot took off from his private air strip and flew about a half mile before coming down in a field off of Hadley Road where he lives.
"He did an excellent job," said his neighbor Keith Wolcott. "If he turned to try and get to the grass strip it would have been bad."
Family friends have identified the pilot as 82-year-old Thomas Volpe, who is the president of an insurance company in Laconia.
They tell necn he's got a passion for planes and has been flying since he was just 13 years old.
Even the NTSB investigator was impressed.
"He was able to put it down in a field and not incur any other damage to anyone else," Yeager said.
Volpe was airlifted to the hospital, but his friends say by Thursday afternoon he was doing well, even better than expected considering the circumstances.
"He knows what he's doing, I wish him well," Wolcott said.
Once the plane is moved from the crash site and into a hanger the investigation will continue. A preliminary report will be released within five business days on the NTSB website. It could take six to nine months for the NTSB to release it's full report.