Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Casper FSFO-04
AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED ON A GOLF COURSE, NEAR CHEYENNE, WY
CHEYENNE – For Doniv Feltner and Eric Millhouse, Friday morning promised to be just another great day for flying above Cheyenne.
But something happened when the Cessna 172 they were in reached 300 feet after a routine takeoff.
Around 9:30 a.m. Friday, for some reason, the single-engine airplane lost power. Why that occurred is not known at this time.
What happened next is the stuff of local aviation legend and grist for stories that flying buddies will share.
The two men kept their cool; Feltner took over the controls and safely landed the plane on a snow-crusted fairway at the Airport Golf Club.
Feltner said the emergency landing occurred on the 12th hole fairway; the golf club manager said it was the 18th hole.
Either way, Feltner and Millhouse walked away unhurt.
The Cessna fared well too. There wasn’t a scratch on the white aircraft, which has blue and gray markings on its side and an American flag on the tail.
Feltner owns Wings of Wyoming, a flight school and rental business based at the Cheyenne airport.
The 1979 airplane is sturdy and reliable, Feltner said. “It has more than 12,000 hours on the airframe, which means it is a really good airplane. It has never, never, never landed anywhere but on the airport before.”
Feltner has been a pilot since 1975 and became a flight instructor in 1978. He has taught students to fly using this airplane for nearly 29 years.
On Friday, he was the instructor and Millhouse the student. Millhouse is a rated pilot for helicopters and was working on his airplane rating.
“We were right above the runway” when the plane lost power, Feltner said. “It’s convenient at our airport that off the end of three of the runways there’s a golf course,” he said.
Cheyenne has five golf courses, with three of them located at the ends of runways.
“That is why the Cheyenne airport is such a safe airport,” Feltner said.
Millhouse started out flying the plane, but as the instructor, Feltner took over when the engine conked out.
The plane covered about half a mile from the time the engine quit to the emergency landing. It’s rare for an airplane to lose an engine, said Feltner, who added this was his first such experience.
He notified the control tower, whose operators sent out the fire department.
Jason Hendricks, manager of the Airport Golf Club, was in his office when the plane landed. When he came out of the office, he saw people lined up along a window of the golf club building.
They were looking about 300 to 400 yards away at an area bustling with emergency vehicles.
Not long after, a big Chevrolet truck towed the plane back to the airport.
Federal Aviation Administration officials intended to come to the airport Friday to check things out, but will come Tuesday instead due to Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, Jim Schell said. He is the deputy director of aviation for Cheyenne Regional Airport.
Feltner said training is key in these instances. “When something like this happens, our training kicks in, and you just automatically do the same things you’re supposed to do.”
Original article can be found here: http://www.wyomingnews.com