Pilot in crash OK

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 18, 2010

Airport officials surround the small plane, which crashed at the end of the Florala Airport runway. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News

A pilot is now breathing a sigh of relief after narrowly escaping injury when his single-engine plane crashed Thursday at the Florala Airport.

Airport officials said the 1947 North American Navion, registered to Wayne Whitaker of Lynn Haven, Fla., lost engine power as it was attempting to take-off. Eyewitnesses said the aircraft had cleared the end of the runway and then fell from the sky, damaging its propeller and landing gear before coming to rest less than 5-feet from the road’s pavement.

“The thing about these planes is that all the fuel is carried in its wings,” an airport employee said. “So, as far as crashes goes, this one was about as good as it can get. If the plane had a fuel leak and hit the pavement, it could have ended a lot differently.”

It was not immediately known who was piloting the aircraft at the time of the accident.

Airport officials said the accident will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).