Saturday, June 27, 2020

Thatcher CX4, N274DR: Accident occurred June 24, 2020 at Cable Airport (KCCB), San Bernardino County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California

Aircraft struck ground, nosed into ditch at end of runway.

Date: 24-JUN-20
Time: 18:45:00Z
Regis#: N274DR
Aircraft Model: CX4
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

UPLAND, California (KABC) -- It was a harrowing plane crash captured on video, and now the pilot who survived it recalls the frightening ordeal.

David Reser, 80, spoke to Eyewitness News about the moment the small plane he was piloting crashed while attempting to land at an airport in Upland Wednesday afternoon.

Reser faced two major problems. The propeller of the plane flew off and oil suddenly covered his windshield, forcing him to fly blind.

"It was a real surprise when the propeller went off. It came off the airplane, but I didn't have a sudden fear," he said. "I've always practiced off-field landings or deadstick landings. Now I get to do one."

"Mayday, Mayday! Just lost my propeller, there is oil all over the screen," Reser says in released audio tapes.

Reser relied on his 48 years of flying experience. Wanting to avoid homes in the area, he dove for the runway looking over the side to try to stay on course, but he was coming in too fast and too high. He knew he wasn't going to make the runway.

"My first thought was when the wingtip hit and it was starting to turn, I thought, 'So, this is the way you die, huh,'" he said. "That was the only thought I had."

AIR7 HD was over the scene as the aircraft hit the runway at Cable Airport, bounced into the air and came to a rest in a field.

The long-time pilot suffered minor injuries and was rescued from the plane by emergency crews after he was trapped in the cockpit.

He was seen shortly afterward walking around.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the aircraft was a homebuilt kit plane. His Thatcher CX4 took him six years to build.

Despite the close call, he says he can't wait to get back in the air.

"They always say any landing you walk away from is a good one," he said.

A single-engine aircraft went off the runway at Cable Airport in Upland after landing shortly before noon Wednesday, June 24. The pilot sustained minor injuries, authorities said.

There were no immediate reports of a fire or fuel leak, said Jimmy Schiller, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, which was called to the scene in the area of 2100 West Foothill Boulevard.

The pilot was the only person on board the Thatcher CX4 experimental aircraft, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, which will investigate the crash. The FAA was notified around 11:45 a.m Gregor said.

Records show the plane is owned by a Fullerton man, who also is a licensed pilot. The pilot at the controls of the Thatcher CX4  was not identified as of Wednesday afternoon.

The pilot had to be freed from the aircraft before he could be taken to a hospital, Schiller said.

The experimental Thatcher CX4 aircraft, in the livery of a World War II “Flying Tiger” plane, was removed from the area by forklift-and-crane rig later in the day.

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