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FAA investigates injured man in aircraft off runway

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/28/2022 9:19:49 PM
Modified: 11/28/2022 9:19:53 PM

HAVERHILL — A 70-year old Bradford man and recreational pilot is in critical condition after the aircraft he was flying was found “downed” at the Haverhill town airport on Sunday, according to authorities.

Lynn Perry was found by passersby unconscious with his single-person gyrocopter turned on its side in a grassy field away from the paved runway at Dean Memorial Airport on Sunday at 12:21 p.m., Haverhill police said in a news release.

“A limited investigation revealed the unconscious pilot was located by good Samaritans who were walking by and observed the downed aircraft,” the news release said.

Perry, who was inside the aircraft when discovered, likely was down in the field overnight as the family believes that whatever led to him being there occurred on Saturday, according to his son, Troy Perry.

“His body temperature was so cold and he was unconscious,” Troy Perry said.

He said that the downed aircraft could not be easily seen because it was obscured by the tall grass away from the runway and was only discovered when a woman was walking in the area.

“She saw the crash scene. She did not witness the crash,” Troy Perry said.

FAA officials have opened an investigation.

“We don’t know what happened, if this happened when he was taking off or landing. There are a lot of unknowns,” Troy Perry said. “Once he can talk, we’ll know a lot more.”

Perry was transported on Sunday by DHART to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center where he remained listed in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said on Monday.

Troy Perry said on Monday afternoon that his father “is still fighting for his life” and is being transferred to the burn center at a Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston “as soon as possible.”

Perry, a former vice president of Perry’s Oil in Bradford, is well-known around the Haverhill airport, said Susie Tann, chair of the Haverhill Airport Zoning Commission.

“He’s a staunch supporter of the airport and does a lot to enhance our community awareness,” Tann said, noting that Perry every year sets up the food concession tent and cooks and sells hamburgers and hot dogs during Airport Awareness Day in September.

Perry donates all the proceeds from the concession sales to the airport, Tann said.

“He’s just a nice, friendly guy,” Tann said.

Troy Perry said his father has been “flying all his life, 40-something years” and also owns a vintage 1947 CallAir airplane in addition to a 2020 Vashon Ranger and the recently acquired gyrocopter.

He said his father flies his crafts out of the Haverhill airport “three or four times a month.”

“He does it as a sport. He’s a recreational flier,” Troy Perry said.

Lynn Perry was previously involved in a mishap with a gyrocopter he was piloting when it malfunctioned during take-off, skidded and rolled over on its side at the same Haverhill airport in 2018, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Perry’s family owned and operated propane and heating oil distributor Perry’s Oil, which was sold to Massachusetts-based Osterman Propane, a unit of Tulsa, Okla.-based NGL Energy Partners, in 2015. NGL Energy Partners was subsequently acquired by Toronto-based energy giant Superior Plus Corp. in 2018.

Cliff Batchelder, vice chair of the Airport Zoning Commission who flies his Cessna out of the Haverhill airport, said that Perry is a flying buddy who knows his way around airplanes.

“We’ve flown with each other back and forth to Claremont for years,” he said, where they share the same airplane mechanic.

Batchelder said that Perry is “a very good pilot … we just don’t know what happened.”

John Lippman can be reached at or 603-727-3219..

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