But Then, Pilot Says He's Done This Before
When fire broke out behind the instrument panel of Dan Marnell's
Piper Cherokee Six, he didn't panic. The reason? This wasn't his
"Well, it's happened to me a couple of times before, when I was
in the Air Force," he told the Hazleton Standard-Speaker.
"It was a small fire behind the instrument panel. I'm not sure
what caused it. Something shorted out," he said.
Perhaps it was Marnell's calm handling of the situation that
saved the day. He and his wife were on a flight from Atlanta to
Wilkes-Barre, PA, when the fire began filling his cockpit with
smoke. He lost his radios and started looking for a place to
land. He found one in Hazleton, PA.
The aircraft filled with smoke before Marnell and his five
passengers were able to extinguish the fire. Officials said he made
his emergency landing without incident or injury.
"This proves how important this airport is. People sometimes
forget that, but you're 20 minutes from Avoca and 30 minutes from
Allentown," local pilot Tony Sidari told the Hazleton paper. "In
cases like this, this airport can be a real life-saver."
Neither Marnell nor his wife were hurt in the incident, but it
served as yet another example of how keeping your cool can get you
out of a tough situation.
FAA Preliminary Accident Report
Make/Model: PA32 Description: PA-32
Cherokee Six, Six, Saratoga, Turbo
Date: 05/26/2005 Time: 0118
Event Type: Incident Highest Injury:
None Mid Air: N Missing:
City: HAZELTON State: PA Country:
ACFT REPORTED ON APPROACH, A FIRE WAS IN THE COCKPIT, CREW
AND LANDED WITHOUT INCIDENT, NO INJURIES TO THE SIX PERSONS
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 5 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
Dep Date: Dep.
Last Radio Cont: