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Plane suffered possible engine trouble before crash at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

6:40 PM, Jan 13, 2013   |    comments
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SARASOTA, Fla. -- When Niclas Herle arrived at a hangar by Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Saturday, he saw a plane take off that appeared to be having engine trouble.

Moments later, he heard a bang.

"I looked over into the trees. There's a university area, and there was lots of smoke," said Herle, the founder and CEO of Heli Aviation, which does flight training and aerial photography. "It was a really bad feeling for all of us."

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 70-year-old John Ardoyno, also known as Jack, was the pilot of the single-engine Seawind 3000 that he was showing his passenger, William Jackson of Ann Arbor, Michigan. When the plane took off, it couldn't gain enough altitude and hit pine trees before crashing into a field on the New College campus just west of the airport.

Ardoyno, a flight instructor from Hayward, Wisconsin, died at the scene. Jackson was flown to Tampa General Hospital's burn unit, where he was last reported to be in critical condition.

Neighbors visited the crash site on Sunday to leave flowers, a symbol of the sadness felt by everyone around the flight path. For Herle, it's a reminder of a very important lesson to teach during flight training.

"If something is weird and something is wrong, then just don't take off because it can be your life," he said.

Last September, Ardoyno was the pilot of a Seawind plane that had to make an emergency landing on the Indian River Lagoon on the Atlantic coast. The plane couldn't make it to the nearest airport after it started losing engine power. Ardoyno and his passenger weren't hurt.

Ashley Porter, WTSP.com

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