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Sat, Aug 09, 2003

Lancair 360 Forced Down Near Vancouver

78-Year Old Pilot Survives With Minor Injuries

One television station calls it a miracle, what Bill Cody did with his Lancair 360 yesterday. The 78-year old pilot had just taken off from Pearson's Field in Vancouver (WA) when smoke began to fill the cockpit. Cody hauled the stick around, pointed his aircraft at the airport and got on the radio.

Kristina Galipp was all ears. "All I heard was 'Mayday! Mayday!' and then everybody else started gathering around going 'what? what? what?,'" said Galipp. "And the rest of it was drowned out, so that's all I heard. But it sounded panicked and the guy knew he was going down."

Indeed, Cody was going down, but he wasn't going to make the airport. So, with the skill of a New York City commuter, Cody put the plane down on the side of Washington State Road 14 near the field. John Damiani, a trash hauler on the road at the time, happened to look up at his mirror as Cody approached his garbage truck. "I looked in the mirror and I thought it was a light pole, 'cause all I could see was the wing," said Damiani. "The color of the plane looks like one of those light poles and I'm going, 'how the heck did that get here?' and then he came out around me and I'm going, that's nice, an airplane."

The 78-year old Ridgefield (WA) pilot was able to hop out of the wreckage before the aircraft was engulfed in flames. Cody, a World War II veteran who's been flying since 1942, according to police, was taken to a local hospital. Witnesses at the scene, however, said he escaped the Lancair without a scratch. Unfortunately, his aircraft fared much worse. The 360, valued at $75,000, was listed as a total loss. It was returned to nearby Pearson's Field after firefighters doused the flames using suppressant foam. How did Cody get through the crisis? "You don't have time to be scared when you have an emergency," he said.

FAA Preliminary Accident Report

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 360W        Make/Model: EXP      Description: LANCAIR 360
  Date: 08/07/2003     Time: 2140

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: VANCOUVER   State: WA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  ACFT APPROX 8 MINUTES AFTER DEPARTURE, ENGINE SHUT DOWN AND ATTEMPTED TO 
  LAND ON HIGHWAY 14 AND HIT A TRUCK, VANCOUVER, WA

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:    0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:          Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: KVUO METAR 072153Z AUTO 26006KT 10SM CLR 26/10 A2998

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Climb      Operation: General Aviation

  Departed: VANCOUVER, WA               Dep Date: 08/07/2003   Dep. Time: 2130
  Destination: SCAPPOSE, OR             Flt Plan: UNK          Wx Briefing: U
  Last Radio Cont: UNK
  Last Clearance: UNK

  FAA FSDO: PORTLAND, OR  (NM09)                  Entry date: 08/08/2003

FMI: www.faa.gov

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