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Mon, May 22, 2006

Airshow Pilot Gets 'De-Propped'

Doncha Hate It When This Happens?

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 version.

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.



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