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Fri, Oct 06, 2006

Senator Inhofe, Aide Uninjured In Runway Mishap

RV-8 Ground-Looped On KRVS Runway

It was a close call for Oklahoma senator James Inhofe Thursday, when his RV-8 ground-looped on landing at Tulsa's Jones Riverside Airport (RVS). Fortunately, Inhofe (right) and his passenger -- a longtime aide to the Senator -- were unhurt in the mishap.

"No scrapes or bruises. No nicks or cuts. No injuries at all," said Danny Finnerty, who was sitting behind the senator in the tandem aircraft, to the Tulsa World. "We walked away from the plane."

"Everything was fine until the tail wheel hit the runway," Finnerty added. "Jim felt like his rudder control was not what it should have been, so it was mechanical, certainly. As soon as we hit, we fish-tailed and spun around a couple of times. "

The plane didn't fare quite as well in the incident, however -- as Finnerty says the plane (file photo of type, below) suffered significant damage. "The plane looks a lot worse than it was," he said.

Inhofe and Finnerty were returning home after a trip to Guthrie, OK and a campaign stop in Duncan, OK for state legislative candidates.

The 71-year-old senator is no stranger to general aviation, of course. He is a veteran pilot who owns several planes, and has spoken out for general aviation causes many times in the Senate.

This was also not his first scrape with trouble in an airplane -- in 1999, the senator made an emergency landing in Claremore, OK after his Grumman AA-5B threw its entire propeller assembly.

Inhofe also escaped injury in that mishap -- landing the Tiger on a grassy section between the runway and taxiway after the aircraft started to porpoise.

The senator did not comment on Thursday's incident.

FMI: www.faa.gov, http://inhofe.senate.gov/

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