The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 5, 2012

Man loses arm in airport accident

FAA‚Äąchecking into incident involving student pilot

By Brian Graves, Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 — A student pilot had an arm severed Sunday in what officials believe was a freak accident at the Stanly County Airport.

“We had a pilot who walked into a propeller,” said David Griffin, director of the airport.

According to Griffin, a plane from Pressley Aviation had flown into the airport and was placed in a hangar.

When the pilot attempted to restart the plane, it appeared the battery was dead.

Another plane flew in with the equipment to start the engine and was used to boost the disabled plane.

Griffin said as the owner of the plane was disconnecting the booster cables after the disabled plane was restarted, he heard a loud noise.

It turned out to be the sound of the student pilot walking into the propeller.

He was transported immediately to Carolinas Medical Center where his condition in unknown.

The incident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and some of the specifics are not yet being discussed.

Griffin said even with eyewitnesses it was still taking some time to piece the story together and the FAA was still waiting to talk to the injured student pilot.

He said the student pilot was approximately 25 years old and had 60-plus hours of flight experience.

“I know the owner is just distraught,” Griffin said.

“He’s been wondering what he might have done different, but I’m not sure there was anything he could have done. It was just one of those tragic accidents.”

Griffin said the airport takes every precaution to make sure there is adequate warnings posted to those who might be on the airfield about the hazards involved.

“Some people don’t realize the dangers on an airfield,” Griffin said.

Pressley Aviation has locations in Indian Trail and New London for flight training.