Wed, Apr 25, 2012
The But Aging Pilot Found That The Landing Was Just The Beginning Of His Problems
On a rainy night last Friday, pilot Russell Brothers Jr. had a problem with his 1961 Twin Beech. Unable to extend the landing gear on a flight from Miami to Dickson, TN, he made a decision to put the plane down on its belly and hope for the best. The spot he picked out was a field he'd flown into for over 50 years before it closed. “When your gear won’t come down, you don’t pull it over to the side of the road and call the wrecker,” Brothers said. “That field was the most appropriate place to put it down.” Brothers was very familiar with Cornelia Fort Airpark having spent several years there as air traffic manager, and knew the condition of the grass by the runway would allow for a smooth landing.
“There were no lights, but I had been flying in and out of that place 55 years and was familiar with the terrain and geography,” he said. “We used Opryland as an approach fix, and so then I flew out over Old Hickory Lake to Opryland and all the lights and made an approach into the strip.” Brothers said he wasn't scared during the approach, and was more concerned about tearing up his airplane. He later wrote an account of the incident for the FAA and Metro Nashville police.
The Tennessean reports that when police investigated the incident, they turned up a past conviction for drug smuggling in 1988, leading to Brothers' serving 11 years of a 60-year sentence. FAA records show he did not have a current medical certificate at the time of the incident.
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