Sun, May 03, 2009
Cessna 182 Loses Power, Takes Out Porta-Potties in Forced
Somewhere out there is a hapless Skylane pilot who is dreading
the next time that he and his fellow flyers get together to tell
flying stories... ya know, the ones that start 'there I was' and
then end with some kind of superlative aerial feat of piloting
prowess that saves the day. Ya gotta pity this guy because no
matter which way you word it, crashing into a pack of porta-potties
simply can't be cleaned up in any way to sound as heroic as the
usual flying story. Though one really has to wonder if he really
(as has been surmised) uttered the words, "Aw Crap" (or the
scatological equivalent -- I mean, what would YOU say?) when
he saw what lay before him just before impact.
To get to the point, it appears than some mode of power loss
downed a Cessna 182 on takeoff from Thun Field at 1520 local time.
The Friday afternoon incident apparently occurred as the aircraft
was less than 200 feet in the air near the Pierce County (WA)
airport. Although Sheriff's officers are reporting that the pilot
thought to turn back, the aircraft managed avoid a nearby mobile
home and wound up impacting in a storage yard and colliding with a
number of porta-potties stored on site.
According to witnesses quoted in media reports, '...the plane
bounced off the rows of portable toilets in a storage yard at the
north end of the field, flipped, then landed upside down on a pile
of wood chips.'
Pierce County Sgt. Mike Blair also said, "If he had made the
runway, he would have landed a lot harder than he did by impacting
with those Sani-Cans and the wood pile... It probably saved his
life, I would think."
When all was said and done, and the dust settled, the aircraft
had ultimately flipped over and wound up inverted but with the 67
year old pilot, Clifford Howell, pretty much walking away from it
all. Initial reports of another person on board the aircraft
have since been denied. NTSB investigators had been dispatched
to the scene and we have to admit that we're looking forward to
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