Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Six Chuter Legend 103, N239SC: Incident occurred August 29, 2018 in Prosser, Benton County, Washington

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington

Crashed in river under unknown circumstances.

Date: 29-AUG-18
Time: 15:50:00Z
Regis#: N239SC
Aircraft Make: SIX CHUTER INC
Aircraft Model: LEGEND P103
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

Bill Nelson, owner and flight instructor for Sky Striders Light Sports Aviation, was rescued Wednesday after crashing one of his powered parachutes into the Yakima River. 

Bill Nelson, owner of Sky Striders Light Sports Aviation, was rescued Wednesday after crashing one of his powered parachutes into the Yakima River. This photo from 2015 shows one of his aircraft.

Powered parachutes, with a parachute attached to a chassis with a throttle and foot pedals, can reach altitudes as high as 10,000 feet. Flying them requires a sport pilot license, and people can qualify to fly them solo in a weekend, according to Bill Nelson, of Sky Striders LLC.

Prosser, Washington -  A veteran Prosser pilot thought Wednesday’s flight over the Yakima River might be his last.

Bill Nelson, 66, was flying a powered parachute when he dipped too low and his wheels hit the water, causing him to sink into the river.

He was flying above power lines over the Yakima River and then dipped down too low, he told the Herald.

The seasoned flight instructor fought to get his seat belt unbuckled and untangle himself from the radio lines in the seconds after the crash.

“I was scared to death,” he said.

Once he freed himself, he stood up on the side of the experimental aircraft.

Kathy Easterly, a neighbor, heard him crash and called for help.

When she first ran outside she saw the disappearing parachute, but not Nelson. As she watched, he rose out of the water.

The river is relatively shallow at that point.

West Benton Fire Rescue and Benton Fire District 2 rushed to the scene and used Easterly’s boat to reach Nelson quickly.

This was Nelson’s second crash in 10 months. In October, he was flying with a student near Mabton when his powered parachute tangled in power lines.

Nelson is a former minister and retired respiratory therapist who’s been flying powered parachutes for years.

In 2015, he shared his love of the aircraft with the Herald.

“It’s the easiest thing to fly. It’s the safest thing to fly,” he said at the time.

He also talked of his love for teaching others to take to the skies.

“It’s really cool to see someone flying one of these and be up there with them,” Nelson said.

Read more here  ➤

PROSSER, Wash. - A man is not hurt after his small aircraft crash landed into the Yakima River near Prosser.

The pilot tells Action News the tires of the powered parachute he was flying came too close to the river’s waters and got stuck, causing the aircraft to plunge into the river Wednesday morning.

A woman living in the area heard the crash as it happened and called 9-1-1, according to authorities.

An ambulance, a dive rescue team, local fire departments and local deputies responded to the scene.

Rescue crews helped pull the man to shore by going out on a boat they said was borrowed from someone who lived in the area.

No other people were involved in the crash.

Crews remain at the scene waiting for resources to retrieve the powered parachute.

Story and video ➤

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