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Sun, May 27, 2007

Pilot Dragged After Starting Plane

Don't Do This At Home

In an effort to prevent his antique single-engine Cessna from hitting houses, a 58-year old pilot was dragged more than 100 feet into a field as he attempted to jump inside the craft on Friday.

The pilot, Donald Bradley, had restored the plane and was starting it by hand-propping the craft, reported the (MA) Republican. Apparently, the plane started moving forward without him.

Said Deputy Chief Duane A. Nichols, "He was trying to jump in and it dragged him quite a ways."

Bradley told authorities he was concerned that if he did not stop the plane, it would hit the nearby houses, Nichols said.

Bradley ran alongside the plane and in his effort to get in, he was dragged alongside, injuring his arm, legs, and back. The plane came to rest approximately 150 feet from the road, authorities said.

Police and firefighters were called to the field next to the road by Northampton (MA) airport, where the small red plane had come to rest shortly after 10 am, with its wheels on the ground. It sustained moderate damage, officials said.

An airport employee drove a golf cart to the plane and drove Bradley back through the dense grass to an ambulance waiting for him on the road. Bradley was able to walk, limping, from the golf cart to the ambulance and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

A neighbor, mowing his lawn, didn't realize anything was amiss until he saw people moving towards the plane.

"I've lived here six years and I haven't seen any accidents before this," he said.

FAA officials were called to the scene and will be investigating the incident.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.hartzellprop.com/flight_safety/safety_prop_safe.htm

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