Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sonex, N801SX: Accident occurred March 01, 2017 in Mercey Hot Springs, Fresno County, California




http://registry.faa.gov/N801SX

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Fresno, California 

Aircraft landed short of the runway and flipped over.

Date: 01-MAR-17
Time: 19:35:00Z
Regis#: N801SX
Aircraft Make: SONEX
Aircraft Model: SONEX
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: MERCY HOT SPRINGS
State: CALIFORNIA





A 78-year-old amateur sport pilot from Sonoma walked away from a small plane crash in a remote part of Fresno County on Wednesday, apparently misjudging the approach to the runway.

“He came up a little bit short,” said Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Botti said the plane flipped over, but the pilot walked away and refused medical treatment. “He just had a scratch to his forehead, and was a little bit sore in his shoulder.”

Roderick Rennie, the pilot, called the Index-Tribune on Thursday to report the extent of his injuries as “a bruise, probably from the shoulder harness.” He said he was “what they call a sport pilot,” and had been flying for about four years. This was his second plane – and first accident.

Rennie is a member of the Liberty Field Flyers, a Petaluma-based flying club for sport and ultra-light aircraft. He said they had planned a trip to the remote Mercey Hot Springs resort several months ago, but it was cancelled by weather.

On Wednesday morning, three planes took off from Petaluma Municipal Airport on a club “fly-out” headed for the remote Mercey Hot Springs next to Little Panoche Road, about 60 miles west of Fresno, and 150 miles by air from Petaluma. Rennie was at the controls of his yellow two-seater Sonex high-performance plane.

“It’s just a dirt strip, it’s not an airport,” said Rennie. “There’s no windsock. When I was coming in I could feel quite a bit of tail wind and some gusts. It was a strange strip and narrow and dirt, I got too slow. And there was a gust, and I lost altitude.” He came down just a few feet short of the runway.

“The wheels hit soft ground before the start of the airstrip, and the wheels just dug in,” said Rennie. The small plane flipped over and landed upside down, with Rennie pinned inside, still in the pilot seat. “I was very lucky,” said Rennie. “I was able to crawl up from underneath.”

His rough landing set off a beacon alerting authorities of a potential accident. It alerted the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, and they responded at once, said Rennie. “They were right on it. They had a helicopter, medics – I was impressed with the response.”

“He was the only person on the plane and fortunate to walk away,” said Botti. The FAA and NTSB were notified.

Rennie caught a ride back to Petaluma from another club member. Though he thought the plane had too much damage to be salvaged, he said, “The insurance company will decide whether it’s salvageable or not.”

Rennie, who lives with his wife on Moon Mountain Road north of Sonoma, said many in the flying club are in an older age bracket. “That’s a common thing – the younger ones all on their phones.”

Mercey Hot Springs is a small private resort and unincorporated community in the Panoche Valley. It caters to family and single travelers, with a number of RV camping places, cabins and hot springs facilities.

Though it is listed as officially closed, the packed dirt runway is 2100 feet long and 20 feet wide. According to shortfield.com, the hot springs manager said on that website “if a pilot hears a strange noise or wants to land somewhere to check anything else out on his airplane, that pilot is welcome to land at Mercey Hot Springs and make sure the aircraft is okay. While you’re there if you’d like to have a soak or camp overnight to calm your nerves, you are more than welcome to do so.”

Asked whether he intended to keep up flying, Rennie paused. “I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll think about it. I’m 78, how long am I going to keep doing this? I might take up something else – not golf, but something a little closer to the ground.

“It was a fun four years flying, I’ll tell you that.”

Source:   http://www.sonomanews.com

A 78-year-old man from Sonoma walked away from a small plane crash in a remote part of Fresno County on Wednesday, apparently misjudging the approach to the runway.

“He came up a little bit short,” said Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Botti said the plane flipped over, but the pilot – flying a Sonex plane – walked away and refused medical treatment. “He just had a scratch to his forehead, and was a little bit sore in his shoulder.”

The man, whose name was not released, told responding deputies that he took off earlier that day from Petaluma. He was apparently destined to Mercey Hot Springs, a small private resort and unincorporated community in the Panoche Valley, about 60 miles southwest of Fresno.

“He was the only person on the plane and fortunate to walk away,” said Botti. The FAA and NTSB were notified.

Source:  http://www.sonomanews.com





FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. - A 78-year-old Sonoma man crashed his Sonex plane near Coalinga on Wednesday, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said.

The Sheriff's Office responded around 11:30 a.m. to the 62000 block of Little Panoche Road near Mercy Hot Springs regarding a plane crash.

The man lost control of his Sonex plane while attempting to land on the Mercy Hot Spring airstrip, and it flipped over, the Sheriff's Office said.

The pilot suffered only minor injuries to his shoulder and face and refused medical attention. 

He was the only person on the plane.

Source:  http://www.yourcentralvalley.com

FRESNO  — A Sonoma man flying a small plane from Petaluma to a rural Fresno County airstrip lost control and flipped the aircraft while trying to land this morning, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

The 78-year-old man, whose name was not released, was trying to land at the Mercey Hot Springs resort’s airstrip west of Interstate Highway 5 near Firebaugh when the plane flipped over.

The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the Sonex plane, suffered minor injuries to his shoulder and face and refused medical treatment, sheriff’s officials said.

Source:  http://kron4.com

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