CARDIFF, Calif. - There is an amazing story of survival behind a piece of a small plane that mysteriously washed ashore in Cardiff Monday.
A FOX 5 viewer saw a news report of a plane part washing ashore in Cardiff State Beach Monday and recognized the tail number. He called his buddy in Houston, Texas – the man who was flying the plane went it crashed August 23, 2010.
Court Koenning was flying the Cirrus SR20 attempting a night landing at a small airport outside Houston.
“Determined I was running out of runway -- I had to go around. In the go-around process the plane was not climbing at the rate I needed it to... I started to hear trees hitting the bottom of the airplane, then a big loud ‘bang’ -- the wing impacting a tree that ripped it off," said the pilot with 20 years flying experience.
Koenning says he deployed the plane’s parachute about 150 feet off the ground.
“As I deployed it I yelled out ‘God, please save me!’ Blacked out… don’t remember the fall, impact. Next thing I know I’m laying on the ground with neighbors tending to me. I literally landed in somebody’s backyard," Koenning said.
He spent about three weeks in the hospital. It was a long, painful recovery that included more than a dozen surgeries.
“I had massive cranial, facial injuries. My face is nine plates and 36 screws," he said.
Koenning says what was left of the plane was taken to a junkyard and he has a theory how the piece ended up in Cardiff.
"It's just speculation. It was shipped, maybe from a port in San Diego, to somewhere on the other side of the world and for some reason, fell off the ship.”
The Houston resident hired a North County towing company to haul off the plane piece and store it until he can find a way to get it to Texas.
“Gosh, I should have laid claim to it when I saw it in the junkyard years ago. That time I just wanted to get away from that reminder. Now, I want to hold onto those things -- a learning tool of what you’ve been through.”
Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms
Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
NTSB Identification: CEN10LA502
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 23, 2010 in Porter, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2011
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N8154M
Injuries: 1 Serious.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The airplane bounced on landing and the pilot had trouble getting the airplane to settle back to the runway. Concerned that he was not going to be able to stop on the remaining runway, the pilot elected to perform a go-around. The pilot applied full engine power and retracted the flaps; however, the airplane settled into trees 2,200 feet beyond the departure end of the runway. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground and came to rest in a nose-down, near-vertical position. The pilot reported that the wind was light and variable at the time, and that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane prior to the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's delay in performing a go-around, which resulted in an impact with trees.
On August 23, 2010, about 2230 central daylight time, a Cirrus Design Corp SR20, N8154M, was substantially damaged during impact with terrain during an attempted go-around maneuver at the North Houston Business Airport, (K9X1) Porter, Texas. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight originated from the West Houston Airport (KIWS), Houston, Texas, around 2200.
The pilot reported that the airplane bounced on landing and that he had trouble getting the airplane to settle back to the runway. Concerned that he was not going to be able to stop on the remaining runway, the pilot elected to perform a go-around maneuver. The pilot applied full engine power and retracted the flaps; however, the airplane settled into trees 2,200 feet beyond the departure end of the runway. As the airplane began to impact trees, the pilot deployed the airplane's ballistic parachute. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground and came to rest in a nose down, near vertical position. Both wings and the fuselage were structurally damaged during the accident. The pilot further reported that the winds were light and variable at the time, and that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane prior to the accident.