Small Plane Crash on Roof of Xsport Fitness, Naperville

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Video of plane crash aftermath and investigation at XSPORT FITNESS, 2780 Fitness Drive near Route 59 and 75th Street in Naperville. HD is available in full screen (see right of control bar).

Naperville Fire Department and police responded to a report just after 12:00 p.m. Wednesday of a small plane crash into the roof of XSPORT Fitness, 2780 Fitness Drive.

A Piper PA-32R-300 took off south to north from an airstrip (Runway 36) in Aero Estates – – a subdivision just south of XSPORT FITNESS. The small plane smashed into a turret, tower-like structure in the southwest corner of the XSPORT building. The turret is just over a top-floor basketball court, which was not occupied at the time of the crash. Some people that heard the crash inside the gym, just thought there was a big barbell crash, at first.

About 300 people were in the Naperville fitness center at the time of the crash, and none of them were injured. Everyone who was already in the gym was evacuated safely. Two people were rescued from the plane and. The pilot Lloyd McKee, 66, and his wife, Maureen McKee, 63, were injured with orthopedic/musculoskeletal injuries and lacerations. They were transported to Edward Hospital & Health Services in Naperville after Naperville firefighters extricated both from the plane.Their injuries are considered serious because of the mechanism of injury, but in actuality the injuries might not be serious. Time will tell, according to an emergency medicine physician, Dr. Thomas A. Scaletta, M.D. of Edward Hospital.

No explosion or fire occurred in the crash, but fuel from the plane leaked down into the weight room. Witnesses inside the gym saw the gasoline gushing down from the plane embedded in the roof.

The nose and cockpit of the plane hit just to the right of a strong brick structure where a stucco wall with Tyvek absorb some of the shock of the impact. The left wing was ripped off the body of the plane by the brick column. Had the pilot hit the brick column with the nose of the plane, the outcome would have likely been fatal for the two people in the plane.

Apparently the plane was taking off with the wind, not against the wind.
Airplanes are able to takeoff and fly by utilizing the lifting force of wind that is flowing past the wings. The faster the air flow, the greater the lifting force. The wings of an airplane allow lift by moving forward through the air. Flying into the wind causes the wings to get a boost of air flow velocity greater than the speed of the aircraft relative to the ground. An aircraft flying into the wind — for example, taking off in a northerly direction when the wind is coming from the north — can get into the air, or lift, more quickly. It appears that the wind Wednesday — if the weather observations are correct — was coming predominantly from the south. The boost of oncoming wind was apparently not available for the plane taking off in a northerly direction. The plane may have had better lift by taking off in a southerly direction from the runway — the opposite direction. The Cardinal video also shows the wind sock at Aero Estates indicating the wind coming from the southwest, and blowing northeast at 2:58 PM (video elapsed time 1:00/about three hours after the crash).

Weather observations for Wednesday, October 06, 2010
1152  71.1 °F   45.0 °F  39%  30.11 in  9.0 miles  SSW  10.4 mph   Clear
1252  75.0 °F   45.0 °F  34%  30.08 in 10.0 miles  WSW  10.4 mph  Clear

Naperville Police, Illinois State Police and NTSB are investigating. FAA investigators are also on the scene.

Aero Estates at 83rd and Aero Drive in Naperville was shutdown this afternoon. The Aero Estates Association activated a disaster plan, marking the runway with yellow ribbon and blocking the entrance to the facility with vehicles.

At 8:00 p.m. CDT naperville plane crash was the 22nd most popular search “in the past hour” on Google — giving it a Hotness rating of medium.

View Chicagoland Major Fires & Rescues in a larger map
Close-up of Aero Estates Runway 18/36, the flight path, and XSPORT FITNESS, Naperville.

View Chicagoland Major Fires & Rescues in a larger map
Satellite view of Aero Estates subdivision showing homes, airplane taxiways and Runway 18/36.

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1 Comment

  1. Pretty bad damage. It’s scarry that a plane can crash into any building like that! At least no one got injured in the building.

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