Renowned aviation artist Sam Lyons has been injured and his wife Vickie killed in the crash of their 1947 Piper J-3 Cub returning home from the Sentimental Journey to Cub Heaven Fly-In in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. The Lyons’ Cub was in a flight of three aircraft that had stopped at a small airfield along U.S. Route 220 enroute to Cumberland, Maryland, Saturday, June 26. Shortly after departure from the intermediate stop, two of the three planes crashed. Details are sketchy.
AOPA and the entire pilot community mourn the loss of Vickie Lyons and hope for Sam’s quick recovery.
Later flown by Maryland medevac helicopter to a Baltimore burn treatment center, Lyons was reported to be in critical but stable condition and scheduled for surgery today (Monday.)
Also injured were the occupants of the other downed Cub, Thomas McKersie Lee and Anita Yvonne Winje, both of Atlanta. Lyons is based in the Kennesaw, Georgia, area northwest of Atlanta. Funeral arrangements for Vickie were incomplete as of Monday morning.
A report published in the Cumberland Times-News (Maryland) said the Cubs refueled at “Armstrong” airfield, a private grass strip, at 11:16 a.m. Saturday and lost power after takeoff, crashing onto nearby Dan’s Mountain at about 12:30 p.m. The Associated Press report said the planes departed “Highrock Airfield” at 12:15 p.m.
The Lyons’ Studio Web site, keeping the couple’s many friends informed as details emerge, reported that Sam and Vickie took off third in the flight of three. As the first Cub turned onto a downwind departure for Cumberland, the second Cub crashed in trees north of the airport. The Lyons’ Cub then crashed about one-half mile away from the first crash site.
Maryland state troopers conducted interviews at the departure airport as part of their investigation, the Cumberland Times-News reported. Weather at the time was termed good with no turbulence, but hot and muggy.
Sam and Vickie and Lyons Studio art have been fixtures at major airshows and fly-ins for many years. His art often captures the romance of flying and the beauty of old airplanes, making this crash heartbreaking for pilots everywhere.
June 28, 1999