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Crippled Cessna 172 Losing Fuel in Texas

Aired August 27, 2001 - 13:20   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We have a crippled Cessna 172 with an instructor and student aboard, bleeding off fuel as it circles an airport near Fort Worth, Texas, Mecham Field it's called, before it attempts an emergency landing.

We have John King on the line with us. An aviation expert who has landing manual for this kind of a deal in front of you.

John, I know you are watching this. What is this pilot going through right now?

JOHN KING, AVIATION EXPERT: Well, he's probably a little bit excited right now, Lou. But you know in the final analysis, very seldom does this ever work out to be anything more than a financial problem. Because the incidence of people getting hurt with gear-up landings or partial gear-down landing is just nil.

So, it's really not a big deal. They are not worried about their lives, they're more concerned about the embarrassment that they're causing everybody, and they're concerned about the airplane.

WATERS: How strange. Why is he bleeding off fuel, then?

KING: Well, you want to take all the precautions you can, and certainly if you had a chance of landing with a whole lot of fuel onboard with an abnormal landing, or minimal fuel - you choose minimal fuel.

But very, very seldom is there even an injury in this kind of a landing.

WATERS: So this student pilot is getting a heck of lesson this morning.

KING: He's getting a lot of attention, and he's getting a lot more flight time than he bargained for, for this lesson. And yes, he's -- he will have had an interesting morning when he gets down.

WATERS: We saw the first pass that the plane made over the runway before doing a virtual airborne touch and go. There was no foam or anything on the runway. No need for that in this kind...

KING: No, actually this airplane touches down at such a low speed, and absolutely under control right to the moment when it gets to the runway. And they really decided that the cost benefit ratio of putting foam on the runway is not worth it for this type of aircraft, because it's such a slow touchdown speed.

WATERS: So, this is all for our entertainment value today?

KING: Well, yes it is. It's going to be very interesting to everybody, and I'm sure all of us are interested to see exactly how it's going to play out. I can assure you that no one is going to get hurt. It's just going to be a very spectacular landing, and it's going to come down at an odd angle, and the pilot's going to be very embarrassed.

WATERS: OK. John King, thanks so much.

KING: All right.

WATERS: So, we'll continue to watch this. We've already had the prediction here from John that nobody's going to get hurt. We are happy to hear that.

We will, however, keep track of this plane, and as soon as it decides to make that final play for the runway you'll be able to see it, right here on CNN.

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