Unclear why plane missed runway

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March 28, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A plane landing at Daniel Field this afternoon malfunctioned, forcing the pilot to miss the runway and ending up on Augusta's Municipal Golf Course.

Golfers out there say they're not totally shocked by the accident.

"I play out here fairly frequently, and often times you see the planes coming in real low, and you wonder...sooner or later someone's going to clip the trees or the fence," said golfer Rhys Anderson.

Today, someone did. A student pilot, who has 60 hours of flight time and was about to take his FAA test, and the instructor were practicing landing. The flight instructor was in control of the plane when it landed. Eyewitnesses say the plane was "too high too hot".

Frank Spears of the MCG Flying Club explained what happened: "He was in the process of landing, and he brought it in to land, and he cuts the power off, and the plane would not slow down."

Spears says he knows the instructor personally and believes he did everything he possibly could to land safely land.

"Very skilled individual, very knowledgeable...very good pilot," Spears said.

At the golf course, you can still find debris scattered all over the place, and skid marks show that they were trying to stop. The Cessna crashed through the fence, possibly going 60 mph. But it could have been worse. The plane could have hit the clubhouse or even gone through it.

The plane will be inspected and checked to figure out what caused the mishap in landing properly. Originally it was thought that there was a throttle problem, but now that doesn't appear to be the case.

"They're going to move the plane into the hanger so that the insurance companies and the FAA can investigate the matter," Spears said. "I'm told the FAA has been alerted and have just spoke to the FAA about the matter."

"This is an instructor program over here, and sometimes these things will occur," said District 5 Commissioner Calvin Holland, Sr.

Holland says that this was a tough lesson for a new pilot to learn, but it comes with the territory.

"We are prayerful and thankful that no one was hurt or injured, but during the course of the year, you may look for something like this to happen," he said.

There was an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 worth of damage done to the plane. We're told it was purchased two years ago from Virginia.

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