Keep It Flying

I spent the weekend up in Susanville with some friends.  We departed out of Oxnard Airport on Friday and apparently made the front page of the newspaper as we did so:

Warrior crash at Oxnard, with our Skylane departing in the background

That’s our Skylane in the background.  According to the newspaper article, the Warrior in the foreground had experienced an engine failure after takeoff and the pilot elected to return to the airport.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough altitude to make it all the way back.  The aircraft touched down in a field west of the runway and collided with an SUV as it crossed a public road.

Considering the open farm fields that litter the west end of OXR’s runway, attempting to turn around may not have been the best option.  On the other hand, I give the pilot credit for resisting the temptation — which must have been strong, considering how close he was to the runway — to stretch the glide, which could well have ended in a stall/spin situation.  He flew the Warrior all the way to the ground, and in doing so preserved his life.  He’s got some injuries, but nobody was killed.

The Ventura County Star has a slide show of the Warrior.

What can we learn from this accident?  First, determine your turn-around altitude before you takeoff, not after.  Second, have alternative landing sites picked out in advance.  And third, even a lowly GA single has a remarkable level of survivability if you just keep it flying all the way to the ground.

  1 comment for “Keep It Flying

  1. June 4, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    I really should have come out there that day. I would have gotten spot news for class!
    Thank god though everyone came out of that alive and well.
    Anthony a friend of mine was right behind him getting ready to take off when he saw the airplane go down. (that was his LAST flight for the day) then he called me and I went all crazy thinking could have been someone I know and then found out it was a Warrior, whew!
    hope you had fun in susanville.

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