An older model airplane ran off the runway at Baldwin County Regional Airport on Saturday morning, but fortunately, no one was injured.
The incident involving a 1964 Maule M4-210 aircraft, owned and piloted by Hubert Eugene Owen, of Eatonton, sent a host of first responders to the scene, including firefighters from Baldwin County Fire Rescue, as well as personnel from Grady Emergency Medical Services, and deputies from the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.
Neither Owen, 76, nor his passenger, John Howard Dunn, of Covington, were injured in the incident, which happened shortly after 11 a.m.
Attempts by The Union-Recorder to speak with the pilot were unsuccessful. The newspaper was, however, able to reach the passenger.
“There’s nothing to tell you, really,” Dunn said. “The airplane just ran off the side of the runway, and that was it.”
The plane was landing at the time.
Dunn said Owen had taken off from a private airstrip in Jasper County and that they were landing at Baldwin County Regional Airport.
“We were just going to go there and shoot some landings in the area and then fly back,” Dunn said.
Bruce Hood, who manages Baldwin County Regional Airport for Sinclair Aviation Services, said the incident caused the aircraft’s prop to become stuck in the grass on the far end of the runway on the Lake Sinclair side and prevented the pilot from being able to fly without his aircraft getting repaired.
“Once the prop (propeller) hits the ground, you can’t fly the plane anymore,” Hood said.
He said airport officials had to report the incident because they had an airplane off the runway, Hood said in a telephone interview Monday morning.
He said the pilot missed hitting the runway light by about three feet.
The airport manager said there was no damage to the runway.
Hood said it was the pilot’s responsibility and not that of airport officials to report the incident to officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“This was considered an incident and not an accident because there were no damages other than to the plane’s prop,” Hood said, noting the incident did not affect air traffic flow at the airport.
A rollback wrecker crew later recovered the damaged plane and took to a T-hanger area of the airport until the owner retrieves it.
Report of Friday plane crash false, official says
The report of an airplane crash in Baldwin County on Friday night was false, an airport official says.
Bruce Hood, who manages Baldwin County Regional Airport for Sinclair Aviation Services, said local authorities never found any evidence of an airplane crash anywhere in the area.
The person who called 911 said it happened at the airport, Hood said.
“They said it was at the airport, but we didn’t have an airplane crash here Friday night,” Hood said. “It was a non-event.”
Even so, emergency personnel from several agencies, including troopers from the Georgia State Patrol post in Milledgeville, along with deputies from the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters with Baldwin County Fire Rescue, responded to the airport.
“We had five or six deputies looking everywhere around the airport, but no one ever found any signs of a plane crash,” Hood said.