Palmyra Plane Crash Kills Rural Carlinville Man

By Benjamin Cox on May 3, 2020 at 5:54pm

An example of a 1996 Yakoviev Yak-52 trainer model craft. Nelson was flying a copy of the craft on Saturday afternoon.

A Carlinville man has died as the result of a small-engine plane crash in northern Macoupin County on Saturday afternoon. Timothy Lee Nelson, 61, of rural Carlinville, was the only person on board the single engine, two-seat 1996 Yakoviev Yak-52, a trainer aircraft produced in Romania by Aerostar.

Nelson’s plane went down near Zelmer Memorial Airpark, just south of Palmyra, around 4 p.m. Saturday. Nelson was pronounced dead at the scene by Macoupin County Coroner Brad Targhetta. Carlinville and Palmyra Fire Departments were the first on the scene of the crash.

Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl told the State Journal-Register that Nelson was on a recreational flight as he had previously crop-dusted his fields in rural Carlinville. The wreckage was in a cornfield just a ½ mile south of the airport and was contained to 50 yards according to a report from Carlinville Fire Chief Jess McKee. It wasn’t known if Nelson was attempting to land the aircraft at the time of the crash. According to FAA records, Nelson had been a licensed commercial pilot since 2007.

Due to expected weather on Saturday night, the wreckage was taken to an unknown building in Carlinville for FAA investigators. The FAA was back on the scene of the crash yesterday. An autoposy on Nelson’s body is expected tomorrow.