Pilot says crash landing shows training experience

News 12 First at Five / Monday, Sept. 16, 2013

BLYTHE, Ga. (WRDW) -- More comfortable in the cockpit than in a car, Aiken Air Service Chief Pilot Don Barnes has been flying for 51 years.

"I've had 9 engine failures in my career: single and twin, one engine, two engines, day and night. So, I've experienced engine failures under all conditions," he said.

Saturday afternoon, the pilot of a Christian Eagle II experienced a similar condition.

According to the FAA, the aerobatic plane had complications after taking off from a nearby airstrip sending it crashing into a barn.

"When you fly in and out of an airport, the greater chance of an engine failure is on takeoff because there you're trying to climb out, low altitude," Barnes explained.

No stranger to crash landings himself, Barnes says one thing soars when things start to go south.

"Number one-- training, training, training. If you do have an engine failure, and you're at least 4,000 feet above the surface, you've got at least five minutes before the airplane is going to touch the ground," he said.

That gives the pilot time to think about where to land and how to avoid houses like the one it landed near on Boulinou Rd.

"Most planes touch down around 50-60 mph at most, single engine airplanes, and they won't go very far, so it doesn't take much space to put one down in," Barnes said.

Both the pilot and passenger were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, which according to Barnes is a major success.

"If both pilots are OK and minor injuries, then it sounds like to me, they did an excellent job," he said.

The FAA is handling the investigation. News 12 is waiting to hear if they have classified this as an accident. If so, we should get more information in their preliminary report in about 10 days.


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