Avid Flyer plane crashes, pilot ejected

ST. GEORGE — Just after 1 p.m. Saturday a single engine experimental plane got caught in a crosswind while landing at St. George Municipal Airport, crashing and ejecting the pilot about 3-4 feet from the plane. The pilot, who had been flying solo, walked away from the crash with no injuries except for scratches to his head and hand.

The pilot, local to the St. George area whose name has not been released by airport officials, was flying an Avid Flyer Model B, single engine, two-place (or seater), plane, tail number N88WJ, Airport Operations Supervisor Brad Kitchen said.

An experimental plane crashed at the St. George Municipal Airport due to being caught by a crosswind while landing, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Brad Kitchen, City of St. George, St. George News
An experimental plane crashed at the St. George Municipal Airport due to being caught by a crosswind while landing, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Brad Kitchen, City of St. George, St. George News

“The pilot was landing on Runway 19 and got caught up in a crosswind while he was landing and it took him off the runway,” Kitchen said, “He came through the infield and went over the top of a drainage ditch and ended up on Taxiway Alpha, or Taxiway A, with a collapsed left landing gear.”

When Kitchen arrived on scene shortly after the plane crash, winds were blowing from the west at about 7-10 knots, he said.

The pilot was thrown out about 3 or 4 feet from the airplane when the aircraft stopped. “He hit sideways, it stopped him abruptly and popped him out the pilot door,” Kitchen said. “The door opened – it probably opened from hitting an embankment or right near the edge of the taxiway – it doesn’t take much to jar these doors on any of these small aircraft.”

In addition to the collapsed landing gear, the aircraft suffered substantial structural damage.

“He’s very lucky,” Kitchen said of the pilot. “He crashed his airplane, the prop is no longer with us, it’s pretty much gone, and there’s substantial structural damage to the aircraft.”

Ultimately, the only injuries the pilot showed were a scratch on top of his head and a scratch on his hand. He declined medical transport, Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager of St. George, said.

Neither the airport nor its runways, except of a portion of one taxiway, were closed in response to the incident at any time with no impacts on its commercial or private use.

An experimental plane crashed at the St. George Municipal Airport due to being caught by a crosswind while landing, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
An experimental plane crashed at the St. George Municipal Airport due to being caught by a crosswind while landing, St. George, Utah, Feb. 21, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We did a thorough runway inspection and we kept the runway open,” Kitchen said, “and the airport remained open. We just closed Taxiway Alpha from Alpha 2 to Alpha 1 for a short time.”

St. George Municipal Airport’s AR21 fire unit responded, as did St. George Fire Department’s Engine 28, St. George Police Department and Gold Cross Ambulance.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted by airport staff to provide notification of the incident.

Neither Mortensen nor Kitchen knew what the FAA may require in this instance.

“We don’t know,” Mortensen said, “but we’ll have a report. We file a report with the Police Department as well.”

St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed this article.  St. George News and KCSG Reporter Melissa Anderson contributed the videocast to this report.   See video top of this report.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  • wilbur February 22, 2015 at 8:17 am

    seat belt not fastened there, buddy?

    • Mesaizacd February 22, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Hey Wilbur where’s Mr Ed.?

  • fun bag February 22, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Did the military show up also?

    • Mesaizacd February 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      I heard the pilot is being investigated by homeland security for attempting to land on the Temple lawn

    • Car4sale February 23, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      No military. they were busy recreaten fer a bit

  • GROANSATTACKS February 23, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Should of flown a cab out there its cheaper

    • LunchboxHero February 23, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Hey Groans! The next time you make one of these (hilarious!!!) taxicab comments, the proper phrasing is “should have”, not “should of”. I can’t wait to read your next comment, by the way. It is HYSTERICAL the way you work a taxicab into every comment! This one is especially clever. Flying a taxi? Hahahahaaaa…stop, I can’t stand it!

      • Car4sale February 23, 2015 at 1:46 pm

        Oh did groans hit a nerve there.?

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