Plane cartwheels into airport
Published 11:44 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2011
An airplane from Benton Harbor crashed at Dowagiac Municipal Airport Wednesday afternoon while practicing a maneuver known as a precision power-off landing.
Dowagiac Fire Department responded to the aircraft accident at 4:14 p.m. May 11.
Capt. Mike Mattix of the Dowagiac Department of Public Safety Fire Rescue Division said upon arrival, fire units found the single-engine private aircraft approximately 120 yards from the east end of runway 27.
The aircraft sustained damage to the left wing, left landing and nose gear.
The pilot, who was not identified, and his passenger escaped injury in the mishap.
Fire and police units remained on scene until 6:13, when the aircraft was released to be moved from the runway by FAA personnel, pending their investigation.
Passenger Bob Baird has been flying since 1985 and told the Daily News this was the first time he has ever been involved in an “incident.”
The plane, a Beechcraft Sierra B24-R, cartwheeled as it touched down.
Baird explained that the difficult maneuver involves pointing the wing at the intended landing spot and gliding to within 200 feet of the mark.
The plane intended to land by the 1,000-foot marker on the runway coming out of a U-turn.
The Sierra B24-R was introduced in 1973 and replaced by a B model in 1977.
Baird said Municipal Airport often has “bumpy” wind zones and “felt odd” Wednesday as it picked up, but he didn’t think wind was a factor in the “sink rate” getting too high.
Baird said pilots like practicing at the Dowagiac airfield because of the length of the runway coupled with a “right traffic pattern,” where most airports feature left turns.