Lucky would have been to miss the wire
An airplane pilot who crashed near a dirt runway Sunday afternoon, said he fought hard to maintain control before a crash landing at Parker Airport in Carson City.
“I had control of the airplane, but couldn’t miss the tree,” said the 61-year-old Chuck Sanicola.
Sanicola piloted the experimental open-cockpit airplane that crashed Sunday afternoon. He told sheriff’s investigators that he had been practicing touch and goes at the dirt airfield located near the landfill, east of Carson City.
He said this was the ninth practice he’d done during the day on the dirt runway.
Sheriff’s reports indicated that Sanicola said on his last approach he felt “a stall in the aircraft and attempted to power out of this condition.”
The report further stated that Sanicola struck a power pole with the landing gear or propeller of his craft, then struck a tree with his right wing. The aircraft then landed on the belly of the fuselage and slid off the landing strip in to a large dirt pile. The aircraft then yawed 180 degrees coming to rest in a stand of large sage bushes and a small tree.
“When I was doing it, I didn’t feel lucky,” Sanicola said in an interview Monday morning. “I was just trying to do what I’ve been taught.”
Sanicola bought the airplane “from a couple of guys in Placerville (Calif.).” He said that as far as he saw, it was a total loss. He had no plans to rebuild the plane.
It was after he switched everything off and climbed out of the plane, with the dust settling that he realized just how lucky he’d been.
‘You make a mistake up there,” he said and paused. “Life’s a matter of inches.”
Sanicola was uninjured in the accident and declined medical services. He said the only injury was to his pride. He is a licensed pilot with a current medical certificate and has substantial flying experience, the investigator’s report stated.
“Coming out alive; I’m very thankful for that,” he concluded.