Pilot unhurt after emergency landing | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Pilot unhurt after emergency landing

A pilot was forced to make an emergency crash landing in the meadow east of the Tahoe Keys Marina Wednesday evening, when the engine in his small plane quit.

Gregory R. Smith said he was out for an evening flight in his Avid 790GS, a one-seater plane he built himself from a kit, when the engine cut off, stalling his plane.

Eric Taxer, a Zephyr Cove resident who witnessed the crash, said the plane was going out towards the lake when it started wavering back and forth. Taxer said Smith had a controlled landing until he hit the ground and the right wheel dug in. The wing tip hit the ground, spinning the plane around until it was facing the opposite direction. Smith exited the plane uninjured.

A South Lake Tahoe resident and employee of the agriculture inspection station in Meyers, Smith said it took him five years to build the plane. Smith said he has been flying since 1973 and logged 80 flight hours in his Avid.

Smith estimated that the plane was a total loss and placed the value at $25,000.

“Just $25,000, and five years of work. There is also the sentimental value. It is the first plane I’ve ever built,” he said.

Numerous 911 calls reported the crash around 8 p.m. Smith was flying out of the Lake Tahoe Airport. Janis Brand, airport management assistant, said the Federal Aviation Administration would conduct an investigation of the crash, even though Smith was not injured.

“They investigate any crash that involves damage to the aircraft,” Brand explained.

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