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Plane down near PNS

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Well-known member
Jan 7, 2002
I want to keep this sweet and short right now because I'm tired and I need a shower... lol... anyway... Does anybody know where I can find some information on Katana crashes and the causes? I had to put a Katana down on a road last night around 9:30pm in south Pensacola. I was taking a friend to Pensacola and at 4,500' we heard this loud bang and the cockpit filled with smoke pretty bad, so we opened the windows to try and let some of it out. But, I was trying to be as calm as possible during this whole thing... the engine was vibrating VERY bad and the oil pressure dropped down to 0. The lady on Pensacola Approach asked me if I wanted to try and make an UNLIGHT grass field about 3 miles to the right, I was like.. no thanks.. but I just kept it straight and maintained altitude. As soon as we heard the loud bang all the red warning lights came on. After about 1 1/2 minutes the engine completely died, and it wasn't even windmilling, it was straight up and down. I knew it wouldn't restart but I tried anyway, as soon as I hit the mags to both, all the lights dimmed real low. I was telling Pensacola approach everything I was doing, I was even telling her "ok, I'm pitching for 60 knots now.. " They were very helpful I might add! When we were at about 3,000' I saw some vehicles on a road right in front of us, so I just tried to follow them all the way down. Approaching about 300' now... I was getting pretty close to these vehicles, which I could tell by now they were motorcycles. Once I was that low, I could see the road and I was saying to myself, ok, this is where we are going to land, so I put all the flaps down and tried to slow down so I would pass over these motorcycles. At about 50' I saw this bend in the road so I banked to the right just following this road and tryin to hold this altitude of about 20' now slowing down without stalling so I wouldn't run up into these motorcycles. I would say I wasn't any further than 20 feet away from the bikes when I put the wheels on the road. (What a skinny runway!!) I just hit those brakes and kept back pressure on the elevator (not like it helped too much) but I just wanted to stop as soon as I could. We started coming up on another turn in the road and I couldn't see around the curve because of some sand dunes, so I took it off of the south side of the road (to our left) into the sand in case any other cars were coming. When we stopped I turned everything off and I was like, JUST RUN!!! I didn't know if it was on fire or what. Well, what a night, let me tell you. After a little while I looked at the plane and there was oil EVERYWHERE. I was hoping to god that I put that oil cap back on there tight, so I checked, and it was on there secured! As a matter of fact, even with all that oil spilled everywhere, the oil still said full.

The owner came out with about 6 other guys and took off the wings and hauled it back to Panama City where we are from. I looked at the plane and there was a hole about the size of a half dollar, on the underside of the engine. They are going to do some work to try and find more details. I'll keep you all updated if you want.

This wasn't exactly short and to the point, but oh well, if you know where I can get some info on other Katana crashes, plear let me know. I heard that last week the same thing happened to 2 people in a Katana in Virginia and both people in the plane died.

Happy Flying,
Nick Kitchen
[email protected]
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Well, sure am glad you made it down safely. Sounds like you landed on the beach. If so, lucky again for you, that you were coming in on that side of P'cola, for that type of landing, I couldn't think of a better road around there.
We landed on Highway 399 which is Via De Luna. It's between the Pensacola Beach water tower and the Gulf Islands National Seashore parking lot.
Wow - glad to hear you made it out okay. Sounds like you kept your cool pretty well. Good job.

try NTSB.gov, it is the NTSB web site you can access accidents by aircraft type

Nice going, dude!!

A real life engine out landing with no injuries is something to be very pleased with. It's also a good example of the value of training.

When I was instructing, each student would have to land on a grass strip from 3000 agl with the power at idle. I never liked the 500 foot go-around for teaching emergencies.

Let us know what they found after the teardown.

Good show!
You can also try landings.com and go under the database section, there you will find NTSB and it will allow you to search for whatever you need. Good job on gettin' down in one piece.
Wow, that was an amazing example of skill.

But I was just curious why you picked the road? For me I would be afraid of the power lines.

But again you did a superb job.

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