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Tue, Sep 17, 2019

Draco STOL Airplane Extensively Damaged Departing From Reno

Pilot Mike Patey, Passengers Uninjured

A PZL-104 Draco Turbine Wilga belonging to Mike Patey was substantially damaged departing from Reno-Stead Airport (KRTS) in Nevada Monday.

The airplane ground looped during its takeoff roll at KRTS. The pilot was attempting to depart before a weather front arrived at the airport. Winds were picking up. He said the left wing lifted during takeoff and the aircraft swerved off the right side of the runway, coming down hard and causing a wing to collapse.

The aircraft is an extensively modified PZL-104 Wilga 2000 airframe with a PT6A-28 turbine engine, redesigned wings. control surfaces and landing gear.

Patey, his wife Chandra and another passenger were not injured in the accident. Wind conditions were reportedly very gusty at KRTS, reaching as high as 40 knots with a major crosswind component.

Patey recorded a video and posted it to YouTube shortly after the accident occurred. In the video, he said if he had been in the backcountry in the kind of wind he was experiencing at Reno, he might have turned the airplane across the runway and departed. He said in the conditions that were present at Reno on Monday, his Draco could take off in about 25 feet. "But instead, I asked the tower if I could crab a little bit to the runway and take off a little bit into the wind. And I kind of felt like I was doing something wrong. In my head, I kept thinking 'this wind's so strong I ought to just turn a 90 and just take off'. I didn't want to get the tower mad at me, and I thought there was something wrong with that, I should just taxi back."

Patey said the left wing broke off the airplane as a result of the accident. "It definitely was my fault," he said in the video.

Patey also posted video of the damaged aircraft. On the YouTube page, Patey said "I’m heartbroken. I will learn from my mistake, maybe showing where I failed others may learn as well."

(Image from Patey YouTube video)

FMI: YouTube Video

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