? Plane clipped top of building, witnesses report

By Carol Cole and James S. Tyree

Transcript Staff Writers

One man was killed Wednesday afternoon when a twin-engine Piper Seneca PA-34 crashed into the University of Oklahoma's Max Westheimer Airport terminal building.

The pilot was identified as Dr. Robert Spector, 62, of Norman. No one else was on the six-seat aircraft.

Officials indicated the plane still had three hours of fuel on board. OUPD led the initial investigation; the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration took over later in the day.

At about 4:25 p.m., the plane clipped the top of the building, according to Norman deputy fire chief James Fullingim. He said the airplane flew in from Austin, Texas, and was approaching for landing.

Cameron Quetone, manager of Ozzie's Diner at the airport, said the plane was lifting toward the north when the right engine failed and the plane dipped right, narrowing missing the restaurant.

There were two people eating in the restaurant at the time, Quetone said. The customers left after the crash.

"He flew over us way low. I heard the engine stop and the crash and he was in the ground just like that," Quetone said. "It looked so weird because he was flying right at us. ? I think he tried to avoid the building because he was coming straight for us before he pulled up and then went down."

Ty Breckenridge of Blanchard saw the plane dip forward into the runway while trying to land. He said the nose wheel slammed into the runway, the plane tilted to the right, and then the right wheels hit the runway hard.

"He powered up hard right ? the right wing clipped the building and it spun him around," said Breckenridge, a former pilot who was at the airport to have coffee.

The airplane came to a rest on the south side of the terminal building, nose down and with its right wing missing, beneath several trees.

It was not a University of Oklahoma plane, said Catherine Bishop, OU vice president of public affairs. The craft was registered to NDI Airplane LLC, with an address matching that of Spector's Norman home.

Transcript reporter William Savage III also contributed to this story.

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