Mon, Mar 22, 2010
Man Was Flying With An Expired Medical And Had Two Prior
The pilot of a VariEze that went
down in the Arizona desert this week was flying on an expired
medical and had two previous accidents on his record.
According to FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor, pilot Charles T.
Blanchette, 63, had already had his licence pulled twice in
response to previous aircraft incidents.
NTSB reports show that Blanchette was found at fault for a Dec
16, 2003, incident in Glendale, CA, where he landed in an open
field and inverted his Allison KR-2. The loose carburetor jet
needle that caused Blanchette to land would have been caught in a
required annual inspection that was not completed.
In a 2006 incident, the propeller blade separated from the hub
assembly on a Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G109 during takeoff.
An NTSB inspector found the engine had pulled away from the
firewall, which was damaged. Blanchette refused to produce
the propeller for inspection and was cited, again, for improper
FAA records show that Blanchette's medical certification had
gone out of date in April of 2009.
File Photo of VariEze
On Wednesday, Blanchette radioed Glendale Municipal (GEU) around
9am reporting power failure in the VariEze and indicating he was
going down about 25 miles southwest of Glendale, AZ. Rescue
crews finally located the downed plane around 5pm and worked to
free Blanchette from the wreckage.
The Associated Press reports that Blanchette is still
at Maricopa County Medical Center after being admitted in critical
condition Wednesday night.
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