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Full Name :   Vance Fowler
Gender :   male
Age :   72
State :   Utah
Country :   United States
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Fly it all the way to the ground...
sub-category : Prop Planes
img 09-24-2010

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Winter. Worked at bank 25 miles north of home in Salem, Oregon. Also working on Commercial/Instrument rating. Sportsman’s Air Park not far from work. Checked plane scheduling. Nobody scheduled so drove to local airport, rented Piper Cherokee and flew to Newberg, Oregon for the day. Bank associate picked me up and took me back to airfield that evening. Found out somebody else used the plane during the day. Did preflight. All appeared ok but had trouble getting engine start. Extreme cold. Finally kicked in. Thought runup normal. Took off but before I could clear the 100 foot fir trees the engine quit. Got it to restart just before hitting tops of trees and barely cleared. Nothing but sludge ponds, steep little canyon, huge trees ahead. Began slow return to airfield. Engine quit again and no restart. No place to put it down. BIG temptation to pull back on yoke but head kept saying, "No, you’ll stall and kill somebody including yourself…fly it all the way to the ground." I barely cleared the ravine aiming for tiny pasture. Barbed wire fence broke speed, sheared landing gear, ruptured gas tank, and saved my life as arresting cable. No steering, brakes. Flew between trees and barn, bounced across field, scared horse out of its shoes. Went through second fence and skidded down into deep blackberry patch and stopped. Shut electrical off, had to kick door open to leap clear. No fire. No injury. Plane repaired and flew another day. Cause still unknown. Fly it all the way to the ground.
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