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Rock Hill, Fort Mill, York SC Accidents and Injuries Legal Blog

Friday, March 16, 2012

Plane Crash

 

Pilot was doing aerobatics in plane before Chester Co. crash

 - The Herald

 -- 

Paul Mikos, 72, was doing aerobatics in his plane in the Chester/Lancaster County area Thursday when the engine cut out during a loop.

But that’s typical, the Rock Hill pilot explained.

As he reaches the top of a loop, the plane’s engine stops because of the inverted fuel system. The propeller keeps spinning, so as the pilot completes the loop, the engine restarts.

It usually works, he said.

“Except once, which was today,” he said Thursday evening, less than three hours after the plane crashed into a field in Chester County, just off of S.C. 9 and Mount Arant Road near Richburg.

Emergency crews were called to the scene about 3:30 p.m., said Chester County Emergency Management Director Eddie Murphy. Mikos was the only one on the plane and was not hurt.

The crash did not cause a fire in the field either, he added.

“If he hadn’t had one bad ditch, he probably wouldn’t have had any damage,” Murphy said.

Mikos, who is originally from New York, moved to Rock Hill five years ago and built the plane himself, a Murphy renegade painted to resemble a World War I plane, in 2001. He’s been flying that model since 2005, but has been regularly flying planes since 1959, when he joined a Flying Club while in the U.S. Army.

“It’s fun,” he said of flying, pointing to pictures of different planes on his office wall.

Mikos keeps the plane at a hangar at the Lancaster County Airport and flies several times a week. Thursday was just like any one of those days.

Until he hit a loop at 3,000 feet and realized the engine wasn’t cutting back on.

“I tried restarting it by diving the plane,” he said. “It just wouldn’t do it.”

Mikos then began looking for an open field or some kind of flat ground to land on. He said he wasn’t scared.

“A plane can glide even when the engine is off,” he explained. “I found open fields... When I got down close to the ground, the field seemed smooth, but as I was getting to it I saw a ditch.”

The bottom of the plane was torn off, but everything else seemed fine. Mikos said strong safety harnesses kept him strapped down, and he didn’t notice any fuel leaking. His plane had an emergency locator beacon, which alerted 911.

“I walked to the highway, a guy picked me up in his car and took me to the airport,” he said. "On the way, I saw an ambulance going by.”

He said knew the ambulance was going to the site of the crash.

Mikos lost his glasses in the crash.

“I didn’t even realize I’d lost them until I was in the car introducing myself,” he said.

Without a plane, Mikos said he wouldn’t be flying for awhile –– to the relief of his wife, Bonnie, who was very upset at the news.

“He’s going to watch grass grow,” she said. “I told him that’s all he can do now.”


Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/03/16/3823468/emergency-crews-respond-to-plane.html#storylink=cpy

http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/03/16/3823468/emergency-crews-respond-to-plane.html

 


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