Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Eclipse 550, N146HA: Incident occurred December 28, 2022 in Irwin, Bonneville County, Idaho

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City 

On landing slid 150 yards off the end of Runway 31 at Alpine Airport (46U), Alpine, Wyoming. 

Destination Sky LLC 

Date: 28-DEC-22
Time: 16:50:00Z
Regis#: N146HA
Aircraft Model: EA500
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew:  2 No Injuries
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: IDAHO

John Corr, 71, came across an odd sight Wednesday afternoon while on his daily cross-country ski excursion: A private plane submerged in the snow.

Corr said the Eclipse 550 was on Bureau of Land Management land, where his ski trail was, after crashing through the end-of-runway gates at the Alpine Airport. The two-engine aircraft eventually landed 100 yards out onto the BLM land.

“The concern of the neighbors was if the pilot was landing into the southern wind, either coming down to land or even taking off while the wind was coming from the south and you had a mishap, the pilot would potentially crash into a couple houses or into a neighborhood,” Corr said.

The airport, 35 miles from Jackson, is located within Alpine Airpark. The Airpark is a “fly-in community” set on the banks of the Palisades Reservoir, with 71 hangar homes, 25 stand-alone hangars, 130 residents and 126 planes.

Bonneville County, Idaho, Sheriff Sergeant Bryan Lovell responded to the scene at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“I believe it was the pilot who called us,” Lovell said. “He had already called the Fire Department, and the ambulance in Alpine were already on their way. We were told there were no injuries, and emergency personnel confirmed that.”

Lovell said that although Alpine is in Wyoming, the end of the airport’s runway crosses the border into Bonneville County, prompting his agency’s response.

According to Lovell, the two people aboard the plane, the pilot and his wife, are Florida residents.

“The pilot was flying to Alpine from Colorado but originated in Florida,” Lovell said. “As he came down to land, there were some icy spots on the runway, and it sounds like he was trying to stop as he touched down and was having difficulty. He couldn’t get it back up in the air or stopped before he ran out of runway, so he went through the snowbank at the end and out into the snow, out into the Idaho side.”

Lovell said the couple was traveling to a residence at the airport at the time and reported only minor damage to the plane.

Lynn Ferguson, the airport manager, said at 3 p.m. Thursday that crews were still working to excavate the plane from the snow. He said the airport is meticulous about maintaining safe conditions on the runway.

“We’re on that runway every day, all day long, but we had that freezing rain the day before and then it froze up that night, and you can only do so much,” Ferguson said. “That runway condition can turn literally in a matter of 30 minutes.”

The incident happened nearly 24 hours after a private G200 jet slid into a snowbank shortly after landing at the Jackson Hole Airport, closing the runway for an hour.

The submerged plane in Alpine drew some oglers, Corr said.

“I skied all around the plane, and there were snowmobilers coming out,” he said. “It was a real curiosity for the neighborhood.”

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