Aerobatics can be hard
on an airframe... even when the bird one of the sturdier
designs in the business. Steve Falon found that out the hard way
when his prop apparently departed his Pitts S-1S while practicing
for an upcoming airshow in Manitowoc County, WI. Falon executed a
dead-stick landing in a pasture north of Hartford, SD, and a local
media report suggests that some kind of inflight collision may
have resulted in the prop separation.
“By the looks of the prop I may have hit something in
mid-air,” he explained.
Falon's 770 pound Pitts (shown below, with Falon) is equipped
with a 180 HP Lycoming and the prop was a fixed pitch model, so the
economic and mechanical damage is a bit easier to deal with than it
might have been had he been running a more expensive CS
ANN was a bit amused by some of the reporting that surrounded
this incident. KELO's Lesa Jarding described the incident in terms
that seemed to miss the point of what occurred, writing that "He
noticed his prop had fallen off. That's when he decided to land his
plane in an pasture north of Hartford." We can't help but note that
'noticing' that one has lost a prop comes a bit more readily than
the tone suggests and that there was little decision-making left
to his execution of a forced landing... when you lose your one
and only prop, you can be assured that a landing is imminent. We
don't want to tell you how we know that...
Falon is examining the damage and the cause of the incident
before resuming his airshow schedule... we wish him luck in getting
his bird airborne again.