May 2, 2014 11:48 am

Injured pilot attempted takeoff from Calaway Park before crash

CALGARY – We’re learning more details about a pilot seriously injured when his small plane crashed near Calaway Park on Thursday.

39-year-old Steve Kostamo’s two-seater aircraft hit the ground around 3:15 p.m., dangerously close to a nearby school.

He had landed his plane successfully in the parking lot of Calaway Park several weeks before, but crashed the plane on Thursday while attempting his takeoff.

Vice-president of Calaway Park Bev Beanson says Kostamo works as a contractor, and had clearance from the Park and NAV Canada to takeoff from the parking lot. However, some question why that was the case, as the area is close to two schools as well as the Springbank Airport.

WATCH: There are questions as to why the plane was in the parking lot in the first place. Doug Vaessen reports.

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“I’d never heard before today that there were planes coming and going from the parking lot,” says concerned parent Lisa Skelton. “I think if there’s an airport close by with safety precautions and safer distances from businesses, schools and houses, all flight traffic should be in and out of the airport.”

Pilots that Global News spoke with add that landing in a parking lot is never something they would recommend, if there were other options nearby.

“If it’s a non-emergency situation, our students are only told to land at controlled or uncontrolled airports,” says Leon Cygman, assistant chair of Aviation at Mount Royal University.

Kostamo was the only person on board the plane, and suffered life-threatening injuries. His condition has since been upgraded to stable.

The Transportation Safety Board is now investigating.

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