Well-trained pilots should always have a Plan B, he says
ANCHORAGE – It’s one of the first things a pilot in training learns: What to do if your engine loses power midair.
“Does happen, I wouldn’t say it’s common, but it does happen,” said Ben Kinney, a flight instructor with Land and Sea Aviation Alaska.
The company owns the Cessna 172RG forced to make an emergency landing on a busy street this week.
Kinney wouldn’t talk specifically about Tuesday’s landing, but did confirm the pilot was 27-year-old instructor, Armon Tabrizi.
“I was just really glad that everyone was OK, and he reverted right to his training, he did everything he was supposed to do sequentially,” Kinney said.
Tabrizi is an experienced pilot, Kinney said, who’s been with the company for more than eight months.
He said when pilots like Tabrizi take off, they’re always thinking about Plan B.
“That should constantly be going through your mind anyway — never fully trust your airplane,” he said.
When something does go wrong, pilots typically follow these steps.
“You want to get best glide that you possibly can with your power unit failed,” he said. “And secondly, you’re going to be picking that spot to put the airplane down.”
Tabrizi tried to land at Campbell Airstrip Airport, but couldn’t.
“Always want to shoot for an airport if something does happen, but if you’re unable to make it, find the next best thing,” he said.
That next best thing was an open space on Boniface Parkway near DeBarr Road.
“You’re in a semi-controlled descent … got control of the airplane, but you’re unable to climb, and you are going down,” he said.
The snowy median helped create a buffer, causing minor damage to the plane, Kinney said, but that isn’t always an option.
“It’s kind of ironic that it happened to us and we were teaching, but it’s a terrific learning experience for all pilots,” he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is treating the landing as an incident for now. An investigator plans to look at the plane Thursday to determine what kind of damage there is and what caused the plane to lose power.