Saratoga County

Clifton Park plane crash claims its second fatality

The small plane crash that killed the chairman of a Troy development company earlier this month has

The small plane crash that killed the chairman of a Troy development company earlier this month has now claimed the life of the other man on board, the company’s vice chairman.

A representative of the company, The United Group, Wednesday afternoon confirmed the passing of 68-year-old James Quinn of Westerlo. Quinn was injured in the crash that also killed the company’s chairman, 67-year-old Walter Uccellini, who died at the scene. Quinn died at Albany Medical Center.

“For two weeks Jim fought valiantly to stay with us — an effort that perfectly summarizes his character,” the company said in a statement. “He was a long time confidant of Walter, a trusted source of knowledge, and a man unafraid of asking the toughest of questions.”

The plane carrying both men went down shortly after takeoff the morning of Aug. 15 in a front yard on Van Vranken Road in Clifton Park. No one on the ground was injured. The two men had been en route to Plattsburgh.

News of Quinn’s passing comes as the National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report on the crash. The report provides some new details, but contains no conclusions on what caused the crash. These are not expected for another year. The preliminary report points to mechanical failure.

The 1981 Beechcraft A36TC took off from Albany International Airport’s Runway 01 at 7:24 a.m. that morning, reaching an altitude of 1,100 feet a minute later. Just after takeoff, “the pilot advised air traffic control, ‘eight delta romeo just lost our engine,’ ” the preliminary report reads.

“No further transmissions were received from the flight, and radar contact was lost about 30 seconds later at an altitude of 300 feet msl,” the report states. It does not indicate which man made the call to the tower.

Quinn was initially identified by state police as the pilot, but both men were experienced pilots and both sides of the Beechcraft had fully functional controls.

The preliminary report refers to both men as pilots, “the left seat pilot” and “the pilot seated in the right seat.” Quinn was in the left seat, Uccellini in the right, according to accounts from the crash scene.

Quinn had an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple ratings, the report reads, “including airplane single-engine land, as well as a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine.”

Quinn was an attorney licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, according to the company. He was also a certified public accountant, a licensed real estate broker and insurance broker.

As vice chairman of The United Group, Quinn was also chief operating officer responsible for the direction of the group’s development and financing projects. The company develops and manages property around the region and state, including the dormitory project at Schenectady County Community College.

The company’s statement indicates that Quinn helped guide the plane so it wouldn’t injure people on the ground.

“Perhaps it is most fitting that Jim will be remembered over the long term as a man that put aside his own safety to ensure that no one was injured two weeks ago during the plane crash,” the statement reads. “He was an honorable man to the end, a man who will truly be missed. Please keep his entire family in your thoughts during this difficult time.”

At a press conference the day after the crash, NTSB officials indicated they’d located three pieces of electronic equipment that investigators hope might hold important data. The preliminary report does not indicate if investigators have gotten a look at that data.

Quinn’s most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued this past March 1. At that time he reported a total of 10,691 hours of flight experience, the report reads.

Uccellini held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings that included single-engine land. His most recent second-class medical certificate was issued Dec. 20, 2011.

The report also included a description of the crash site, essentially the front lawn of 53 Van Vranken Road. The wreckage path extended 150 feet.

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