A pilot who landed on a road in Cottonwood, AZ, has been cited for flying without a proper airman certificate in an airplane that was not airworthy, according to local authorities.
The pilot, Kelly Thompson, landed on a road he reportedly mistook for a runway at Cottonwood Municipal Airport. He ran the airplane into a fence after landing, according to police spokesman Sgt. Cody Savage.
FAA records indicate that the airplane is a 1977 Piper PA-28-161 which had had its airworthiness certificate terminated. It had been sold to someone named Mike Etris, though no sale date or address is listed in the FAA N-Number registry. The last registration address was listed as a post office box in Chekotah, OK.
The online news site azfamily.com reports that the accident occurred last Monday about 11:20 pm. Thompson had told police that the runway lights were not working correctly, which caused him to attempt to land on the road which he thought was the active. He said by the time he realized his mistake, he could not recover enough altitude to avoid hitting the fence which borders the airport.
Sgt. Savage said the runway lights were tested and found to be working properly. Thompson suffered two broken vertebrae in his neck, for which he was treated at Flagstaff Medical Center. He was expected to appear at the Cottonwood Municipal Court.