19-Year-Old Pilot Makes Forced Landing Near Bixby

Friday, March 6th 2015, 6:20 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A 19-year-old pilot and his passenger were inside a small plane that crashed near Bixby at about noon Friday.

There were actually two pilots on board the plane, one young and one an instructor. They say something happened to the flight controls - maybe a cable broke.They were unable to control the aircraft, and that led to the forced landing.

There's an obvious and short path from the spot where the plane touched down to where it flipped over and stopped.

The main wheels broke off and the wings are crumpled, but the cockpit protected the 19-year-old pilot and his instructor.

Dale Smith was the first person on the scene.

"They were stiff and sore, but they were up and around," Smith said.

3/6/2015 Related Story: Pilot, Passenger Not Hurt In Plane Crash Southeast Of Bixby

Smith says the two men hardly appeared to have a scratch on them and considering how the wreckage looks, he can't believe they weren't hurt more than they were.

"Tires hit twice," he said. "Hit once and went about 10 feet, bounced about 10 feet and hit again, and then no tires - lost their whole landing gear. Then they went upside down, and they rode it. They didn't go 150 feet."

The plane is a 1946 Funk, a single engine plane with a steel tube and wooden frame, covered mostly in fabric. It's a plane that Scott Rabbitt owned for 20 years. His grandson was flying the plane when it crashed.

"Well, I really don't know. I suspect a cable may have either broken or come loose or something," Rabbitt said.

Rabbitt says his grandson, Alex Rabbitt, is 19 but has been flying for years, and got his pilot's license about a year ago. He and an instructor were flying back to Jones airport when something happened as they were flying near Leonard. Both sound like they're OK, according to Rabbitt, who believes the damage to the plane can be repaired.

He's just glad his grandson was able to walk away.