And We Do Mean 'Engine Loss'...
What started as an
afternoon jaunt over the beach turned into an ordeal -- but one
heck of a story to tell -- for pilot Floyd Brown.
Brown, a 17-year pilot for Delta Air Lines, was as surprised as
those watching him on Topsail Beach, NC were when his Christen
Eagle II experimental biplane Ifile photo of type, below) lost its
engine at 2,000 feet AGL, while maneuvering overhead on September
And by 'lost its engine,' we mean exactly that -- the block
sheared off the airframe. Fortunately, Brown kept a level head as
the plane tumbled and fell -- managing to bail out, and hitting the
silk at 700 feet over the water.
“The plane suffered a catastrophic failure when the engine
came off,” Brown explained. “I have crashed two
previous planes, but they were manageable and I rode them to the
Brown landed safely in the water, and was picked up a short time
later by a vacationing family in a boat.
“I had 15 seconds to figure out what to do,” the
pilot added. “We practice egress all the time, but I had to
do it in a flash.”
Once safe on the ground, Brown's attention turned to recovering
his beloved bipe, which had also fallen into the ocean. As it turns
out... bailing out of a compromised airplane wasn't the most
difficult ordeal Brown had to face.
As the accident involved a homebuilt aircraft -- and did not
result in serious injury, or an insurance claim -- the FAA said it
wouldn't help pull the plane from the ocean. Ditto for those with
the Pender County Division of the Wildlife Resource Commission.
In the end, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown -- after checking
with his counterpart in Pender County -- allowed divers from his
department to help Brown pull his plane out of the water on Labor
Alas, the engine was nowhere to be found... but Brown said he'll
keep looking. He also asked those who may find engine parts washed
up on the shore to contact the Topsail Beach Police.
** Report created 9/12/2006 Record
Make/Model: EXP Description:
CHRISTEN EAGLE II
Date: 09/03/2006 Time: 1725
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
None Mid Air: N Missing:
City: HOLLY RIDGE State: NC Country:
ACFT ENGINE FAILED AND CRASHED INTO THE OCEAN ONE MILE
AIRPORT, HOLLY RIDGE, NC
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 0 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
WEATHER: METAR KNCA 031656Z 00000KT 7SM FEW030 FEW250 28/19
Activity: Pleasure Phase:
Unknown Operation: OTHER
Dep Date: Dep.
Last Radio Cont:
FAA FSDO: GREENSBORO, NC
Entry date: 09/05/2006