Monday, June 08, 2015

Report of plane crash turns out to be 'Jet Truck'

Four ambulances, three Greene County Sheriff's deputies, a couple of Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers, a firetruck and a few more emergency vehicles descended on a farm just east of Springfield on Monday afternoon.

Authorities had received a report of a possible plane crash in the area, so dispatchers — fearing the worst — sent a lot of emergency responders.

But what the callers — who are new to the neighborhood — thought was a plane crash beyond the tree-line south of their property ended up being a bath for Shockwave, the jet-powered semi-truck that tops out at 376 miles per hour.

Shockwave's owner, Neal Darnell, said he raced the vehicle — which looks like a fighter plane and a semi-truck had a baby — on a dirt course last week, so the truck needed to be washed on Monday.

Part of that washing process means firing up the jet engines on the back of the 36,000-horsepower truck, and that makes for some loud noises and a cloud of white smoke outside of Darnell's garage on Farm Road 205.

"We do it from time to time and it will usually generate a couple of 911 calls, but today for some reason it brought out a whole army of emergency vehicles," Darnell said. "And I hate that because they have better things to do than come out here."

The new neighbors said next time they will know that those jet-like noises just mean it's bath time for Darnell's racing truck.

Darnell said he doesn't blame the neighbors for being concerned. Even though the world-renowned jet truck has been featured in magazines and a cable TV show, most people have no idea Shockwave calls Springfield home.

Darnell said he has had Shockwave for about three years and he and his son take the truck to shows all over the country — where they do things like setting stacks of cars on fire or racing fighter planes.

Darnell — who has been drag-racing his whole life — said Shockwave started as a hobby but has now turned into a "crazy business."

The Darnells also have two smaller jet-powered pick-up trucks in the garage.

Darnell showed the first-responders his trucks and gave them fliers for his website ( on Monday along with his apology for having wasted their time.

A deputy on scene said no citations were issued and the 911 callers were acting in good faith because they genuinely believed someone might be in danger.

Darnell said the deputies and emergency medical technicians were friendly once they found out there weren't any downed planes in his yard — but instead the roaring engines of the fastest jet-powered semi-truck in the world.

"The cops thought it was cool," Darnell said. "They said, 'Boy, we wish we would have been here 25 minutes ago so we would have been able to see it.'"

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Incident occurred June 08, 2015 at Reno-Stead Airport (KRTS), Nevada

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) --The small airplane that made an emergency landing at Reno-Stead Airport did catch fire, an airport spokeswoman said.

It's unclear whether the fire was before or after the landing, airport spokeswoman Heidi Jared reports.

The single-engine plane made the emergency landing Monday afternoon.

The pilot and a passenger walked away from the scene and are not hurt, Jared said.

The plane landed on airport property but not on a runaway, said Jared, who is gathering further details.

Firefighters are at the scene.

Circumstances leading to the incident are not immediately known, including the plane's flight plan.

The amount of damage to the plane cannot be confirmed.

The incident was reported a little after 3 p.m.


The Country Life: Passion for flying means living at the airport • Meadow Lake Airport (KFLY), Colorado Springs, Colorado

Dave Elliott recently retired from Frontier Airlines, ending 13 years as an airline pilot. During 40 years of flying, he also served in the Coast Guard, flew corporate planes and taught at the Air Force Academy.

So what's he looking forward to in his retirement?

More flying, of course.

"I can't get enough of it," says Elliott, 63, who plans to do flight instruction and occasional contract corporate flying along with tooling around in the Piper Apache that's parked in a hangar at his house.

Elliott lives at Meadow Lake Estates in Falcon, with a taxiway in his backyard to Meadow Lake Airport. His is one of 41 residential lots with airport access, though of the 30 that are occupied, only about half have airplanes. Elliott, president of the Meadow Lake Airport Association board of directors, has lived at Meadow Lake since 1999.

Development at the site of the former McCandlish ranch began 50 years ago by members of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 72; an initial dirt airstrip, carved from the prairie, opened Jan. 1, 1966. Meadow Lake Airport is unusual in that it is a public use airport, but privately owned. Operations and maintenance are conducted by volunteers and funded by dues paid by the property owners; federal and state grants fund capital improvements. It's Colorado's largest pilot-owned airport.

The airport was designated as a general aviation reliever airport in 1989; it helps ease congestion at Colorado Springs Airport by being a base for smaller planes, so that, as Elliott puts it, "the bug smashers" are out of the way of the military jets and cargo planes and commercial aircraft. Meadow Lake Airport is home to more than 450 aircraft; it also houses more than 100 small businesses.

Don't look for a control tower; Meadow Lake is an "uncontrolled" airport, which means it's up to pilots to keep an eye on the skies and coordinate through a "common traffic advisory frequency" on their radios.

A taxiway basically at your doorstep, a plethora of planes and the companionship of fellow aviators. It seems the perfect home for Elliott, who decided at age 9 that he was going to be a Coast Guard pilot after watching a half-hour TV show about the Coast Guard in Alaska. The show featured "a neat airplane" that could land on ground or water - the Grumman Albatross. Elliott did get to fly the now-retired plane during his 21 years in the Coast Guard.

He hasn't flown his Piper Apache in years - he's been too busy - but is looking forward to getting it up in the sky this summer. "It's just a fun airplane," he said.

So why is flying such a passion for him?

"Oh geez, wow. There's a feeling, an emotion, the thrill, the freedom of movement," he said.

While a cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and then based on a ship for a year and a half after, he learned about the forces of nature and using them to accomplish a goal - flying or sailing from Point A to Point B. He enjoys putting that learning to use, he said.

"I'm a project guy. I would go nuts if I had a 9 to 5 job. I like to get out and explore, and aviation is a good way to do that."

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