Veteran instructor credited in Pa. crash landing

AP News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2011 10:10 AM
Veteran instructor credited in Pa. crash landing

A flight instructor with 55 years of flying experience is being credited with making a safe emergency landing in a hayfield when the small plane he was riding in lost power over Pennsylvania.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating why the Piper Cherokee 180 owned by Westmoreland Aviation Academy malfunctioned near Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity Township about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

But J.T. Spangler, who owns the flight school, says he knows why nobody died. Spangler credits 72-year-old Bill Wright with steering the craft away from the airport and toward the dimly lit field.

Wright was onboard with a pilot who was practicing an instrument-only landing and took the controls when the plane lost power.

Investigators say the soggy hayfield helped cushion the landing.