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Fri, Dec 05, 2003

Hot Wings!

A Sad and Scary Tale

By ANN Contributor Ralph McCormick (Editor, Fly-Low)

The day before Thanksgiving, Pablo Pinzon did what every pilot loves to do. He took a local flight in his pristine 1946 Champ (File Photo, below). Pablo flies out of Chickasha (OK). The day was a beautiful clear Oklahoma day. The Champ was performing exceptionally well. Suddenly, there was a slight shutter and vibration. Not expecting any problems, Pablo began to look for the cause. Nothing could be found, so he headed to the nearest airport. The vibration got worse, the oil temp and pressure remained good. And then, every pilots nightmare, the engine just stopped dead cold. Realizing that he wasn't going to make it to any airport, he decided to land on U. S. Highway 81, which was right under him. At this time, he was just south of Minco (OK).

"Considering everything, I made a perfect three-point landing on the highway. I then got out of the plane, pulled it back off the highway and waited for a car to come by," Pablo said. One did and they offered him a ride to the airport. The lady driving said, "Oh my goodness, it was just like in the movies. You're plane was smoking on the way down." After inspecting the plane, Pablo found the engine dripping oil and the exhaust was loose. He knew the emergency landing was caused by catastrophic engine failure.

The incident happened eighteen miles north of Chickasha (OK). Pablo was given a ride to that airport. There he got a mechanic to get a trailer and tools in order to retrieve the airplane. They drove back to the plane's location on U. S. Highway 81 and started to disassemble the Champ. Both wings were taken off and placed on the ground at the side of the highway. The fuselage was placed on the trailer. Since there wasn't room on the trailer for the wings, it was decided to leave them on the side of the road and come back later for them.

Pablo and the mechanic took the fuselage to the Chickasha airport, gathered blankets to protect the wings in transit. It took less than an hour to unload the fuselage and return for the wings. You guessed it. THE WINGS WERE GONE!!! Every attempt has been made to locate them. The wings were the standard yellow champ color in good condition. To date, they have not found the wings. It is bad enough to have an engine eat itself up in the air, but to have someone on the ground take your wings….. You don't get much worse.

Pablo told me that he hopes a Good Samaritan picked them up and doesn't know what to do with them. He is a lot more optimist that I. What we have here is a case of "HOT WINGS". If you see anyone driving down the road with a pair of yellow wings or if someone attempts to sell you a pair of yellow Champ wings... You know what to do. Pablo would like to have his wings back. [ANN Thanks our good friend, Ralph McCormick, for this story...we urge readers everywhere to keep on the look-out for the missing wings and we'll pass laong more info as soon as we can.]

** Report created 12/4/2003 Record 7 **
IDENTIFICATION
 Regis#: 2126E Make/Model: CH7A Description: 7ACA/ECA Champ, Citabria
 Date: 11/26/2003 Time: 2000
 Event Type: Incident Highest Injury: None Mid Air: N Missing: N
 Damage: None
LOCATION
 City: MINCO State: OK Country: US

DESCRIPTION
AIRCRAFT ENGINE FAILED AND MADE AN EMERGENCY LANDING ON A HIGHWAY, MINCO, OK

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: METAR KCHK 262011Z AUTO 27011KT 10SM 22/02 A2967
 
OTHER DATA
 Activity: Pleasure Phase: Cruise Operation: General Aviation
 Departed: CHICKASAW, OK Dep Date: 11/26/2003 Dep. Time: 2000
 Destination: CHICKASAW, OK Flt Plan: NONE Wx Briefing: N
 Last Radio Cont: NONE  Last Clearance: NONE
 FAA FSDO: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (SW15) Entry date: 11/28/2003

FMI: You may contact me at ralph@fly-low.com and I will see that Pablo and the officials are contacted, www.fly-low.com

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