Friday, December 4, 2009

Always have a back up plan

During private pilot training pilots all go through the, "you just lost your engine, where are you going to land?" scenario. I had it done to many times. It's a non-event once you realize you're not going to just fall out of the sky. Of course I always had it done during VMC conditions. Sully had it during VMC conditions. This guy had it happen in real life (single engine plane) during IMC conditions. Not only did he walk away....but the plane wasn't damaged at all.

Cicero man safely lands FedEx plane outside Rome; no injuries

By Debra J. Groom / The Post-Standard

December 03, 2009, 12:09PM

Rome, NY -- A Cicero man is OK aftering ditching his plane in a field north of Rome this morning.

The Cessna plane owned by FedEx and being piloted by Peter May of Brewerton went down north of Rome near the intersection of Elmer Hill and Chmielewski roads. Oneida County sheriff's Sgt. Matthew J. Bauer said May, 46, had to think quick to figure out where to put down his doomed plane.

Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Richard Antanavige said May was the only person on board and he was not injured. The plane was not damaged.

The Cessna C208B Caravan turbo prop was flying from Syracuse to Plattsburgh with 300 pounds of overnight packages on board. At about 7:45 a.m. at an altitude of about 7,500 feet, the single engine turbo prop lost power, Bauer said.

At the time, the plane was about 15 miles away from the airport at the former Griffiss Air Force Base. May radioed air traffic control with a mayday, Bauer said. While on approach to the Griffiss runway, the plane rapidly lost altitude and air speed.

"These factors made it apparent to the pilot that the aircraft was going to under shoot Griffiss and crash," Bauer said.

Upon dropping out of the clouds at about 1,000 feet, May decided to either crash land in Lake Delta just north of Rome or a less populated area west of the lake. May chose to land in the hayfield of the Von Matt farm.

"He had the good wisdom to drop the flaps,which gave him lift," said Vernon May, commissioner of aviation in Oneida County. "He did everything right."

May has worked for Wiggins Aircraft, of Manchester, N.H., since 1994. Wiggins leases aircraft from FedEx and supplies pilots for routes throughout New England, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. 

Assisting at the scene were Rome Fire Department, Griffiss Crash Crew and AmCare Ambulance. The incident will remain under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration out of Albany.

The aircraft will be partially disassembled and trucked to Griffiss, where the FAA will attempt to determine the cause of the engine failure.

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