Pilot Killed in Melville Plane Crash

A vintage airplane that had flown in the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach this weekend crashed in Melville Wednesday afternoon, killing the pilot.

The crash occurred near Northcote Drive. GEICO Skytypers identified him as Ken Johansen. Suffolk County police said  Johansen, was 52, and lived in Doylestown, Pa.

Pilot Ken Johansen

The plane, an SNJ-2,  was one of the GEICO Skytypers that flew at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park over Memorial Day weekend. It had just taken off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

It burst into flames upon impact.

The two-seater plane, built around 1940, was designed to train fighter pilots ahead of World War II.

The vintage aircraft are flown by the GEICO Skytypers, a  regular participant of the air show.

Witness Lou Scaglione told WCBS-TV, “They fly in formation. It’s not uncommon to see them flying in this area. And probably with the air show last weekend, they were probably out flying again. It’s kind of neat to see them come by, but I notice them come by, they, usually, there’s four or five of them in formation. They came back around, they circled, and as they circled around I noticed one was missing. I said ‘Oh, maybe he’s on approach to the airport.’ But then I saw smoke coming over the tops of the trees. I could only assume one thing, and it’s unfortunate.”

Lauren Peller posted photos of the crash, which she said had occurred right near her driveway.

NBC photos





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