Hole in One
On the 24th of July, Tony Weedn’s engine failed. He was flying a Cessna 172 with three passengers in Florida en route to Orlando. Weedn is a very experienced pilot who dealt with the emergency professionally and brought the plane down safely onto a local golf course.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — When the engine on his Cessna 172 went out Saturday while he was flying at 4,000 feet above Bay County, Tony Weedn did not have many options.
“He looked at the beach, and there were a lot of people on the beach. He looked at the highway, and there were a lot of cars on the highway,” said Justin Landingham, one of Weedn’s passengers. So, Weedn picked the 17th green at Shark’s Tooth Golf Course to make an emergency landing. He had to dodge large trees and sand traps in order to get the plane to safety.
The preliminary report isn’t available on NTSB July 2010 Aviation Accidents yet but you can see the direct response of one of the passengers:
Weedn wrote about his experience for other pilots and you can see the detail on the PPRuNe Forums. It makes for fascinating reading.
Approximately 30 miles East of DTS and passing 3800’ the engine went from about 2400RPM to 1000RPM. It was as if the throttle linkage had disconnected and the engine went to idle. I was on the radio with flight watch getting a weather update when it happened. I told them to standby and maintained aircraft control by immediately trading airspeed for altitude.
We were at about 90-95 KIAS when the engine went to idle so I pitched for 65 KIAS (best glide) and we were able to get to almost 4000’. I then began to analyze the situation as we descended quickly. After trouble shooting as much as I could, I pushed the throttle in and pulled it out looking for a response. I pulled the carb heat hoping that it would remedy the idle engine. In the limited amount of time that I had I tried every feasible solution; unfortunately, there was nothing I could do to keep the C-172 from descending.
I spun the Garmin 430 and saw that the closest airfield was 12 miles away. Too far! With only a few minutes to spare, I realized that I had to make a decision quickly. Below me was the ocean, the beach and a busy road. At my 9 O’clock, I saw Shark’s Tooth golf course and it was my only realistic option.
You can read his full description on the thread along with the experiences of other pilots who have experienced an engine failure (although it being PPRuNe, there’s already a fair amount of arguing).