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Pilot crash-landed same craft at Nashua's Boire Field in 2010

HOOKSETT — A Rhode Island couple died Thursday when their single-engine plane clipped a light pole and crashed on Interstate 93. State police identified the victims as Herman and Doris Hassinger, both 83, of Block Island, R.I.

Herman Hassinger was a trustee emeritus at the New Hampton School and was on his way to a board meeting with his wife.

&#';Herman and Doris were some of the greatest supporters of New Hampton School,&#'; Peter Galletly, chairman of the New Hampton School board of trustees said in a statement Thursday night. &#';Herman was the longest-serving trustee on the board and he contributed in so many ways. Herman was the architect for many of our buildings on campus. He was incredibly generous with his time and thoughtful of the student experience at New Hampton. Our hearts go out to the Hassinger family. &#';

State Police Lt. Christopher Wagner said that the preliminary investigation reveals the plane had been flying south and struck a DOT utility light pole about 1 p.m., then smashed into the passing lane and shoulder of the highway.

Police said the crash happened in the northbound lane near mile marker 26.2 at the ramp for Interstate 293 and the Everett Turnpike southbound. The ramp from I-93 north to 293 south was closed and I-93 north restricted to one lane of traffic for hours. All lanes were open by 9 p.m.

2010 crash

FAA Registry information indicates that the fixed-wing, single-engine Beechcraft A36 is registered out of Block Island, R.I. The same plane crashed at Nashua's Boire Field in August 2010, when Hassinger, who is listed as the owner of the plane, skidded along the runway as the plane's landing gear malfunctioned. A report from that crash indicated an initial inspection showed a bent rod prevented the left landing gear assembly from locking in the down position.

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation of Thursday's crash and the FBI was on scene as well.

Wagner asked that any witnesses contact state police at 271-3636.

&#';We have not identified any witnesses at this point who actually saw the plane in flight or prior to the crash,&#'; he said.

School mourns

According to New Hampton School officials, Hassinger and his wife routinely flew to the four annual board of trustees meetings, one of which is scheduled for Saturday. New Hampton's Head of School Andrew Menke said Hassinger was &#';a wonderful presence and a consistent voice on the board of trustees.&#';

&#';Herman and Doris were wonderful people,&#'; said Menke. &#';He was instrumental in our adoption of the International Baccalaureate program, and as an outstanding architect, he was a strong supporter of campus capital improvements. His committed stewardship has helped the school reach unprecedented health.&#';

Hassinger was the owner of Herman Hassinger Architects of Moorestown, N.J., and was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. His daughter Elizabeth graduated from New Hampton School in 1977; his son John graduated in 1978. He was the lead architect on several buildings at the school, including Alumni Hall and the Academic Research Center.

He held a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Chandler Graduate Fellowship. He was a past president of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects, a Lutheran church council member, and a trustee at Upsala College in East Orange, N.J.

He was a member of the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians, and he was the chairman of the Block Island Historic District Commission, according to school officials.

Union Leader Staff Writers Paul Feely, Dale Vincent and Tim Buckland contributed to this report.

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