A Truckee man was upset but not injured after flipping his small plane in Sierra Valley last week.
On Friday, April 20, around 10:35 a.m., the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an overturned aircraft at Deerwater Air Field in Sierraville. Deerwater Field is a small landing strip with a taxiway and parking for small aircraft.
A Grass Valley couple visiting the Sierra Hot Springs nearby witnessed the accident and said the plane had flown in at least once, landed and taken off again. Then it flew around the last time and was rolling down the runway when it began bouncing and very slowly flipped nose over. They said the pilot, the sole occupant, exited and began yelling in obvious frustration.
The Truckee area pilot, who requested to remain anonymous, said, “I really don’t want my friends to read my name in the paper. I have been a pilot for many years and this is just really embarrassing!” He was interviewed by sheriff’s Detective Mike Fisher, also a pilot, and later by Federal Aviation Administration personnel.
The pilot said he was doing practice landings when he lost control of the plane and it veered left off the runway. He applied engine power and tried to lift off; however, he just barely clipped the barbed wire fence enclosing the runway, which caused him to bounce off into the sagebrush. The plane then nosed over upside down. He said he was uninjured and was just glad to be able to walk away.
The FAA is investigating the cause of the accident. Responding personnel included the sheriff’s office, Sierra County fire, Eastern Plumas-Loyalton ambulance, U.S. Forest Service, California Highway Patrol and, later, investigators from the FAA’s Reno, Nev., office.
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