Pilot didn't put gas in plane

Forced landing on North Douglas Highway damaged small plane

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2001

A private pilot landed his plane on North Douglas Highway and substantially damaged his aircraft because he forgot to put gas in the tank, according to a final report by federal investigators.

Pilot L. W. Gregg of Juneau was not injured in the incident last October. He was the plane's sole occupant.

According to the report, the pilot told investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board he took off from the Juneau Airport on a short flight to test a new propeller he had installed on his plane, a Taylorcraft BC12-D.

On his way back to the airport, Gregg thought he was running low on fuel, so he decided to make a precautionary landing on North Douglas Highway and refuel with a can of gas on the plane, the report said.

Upon landing, the left wing hit a road sign, prompting the plane to pivot and roll down an embankment. The accident caused substantial damage to the wings and fuselage - enough to prompt an investigation by the NTSB, said investigator Clint Johnson.

"It was a pretty minor event." Johnson said. But "the damage did meet our criteria of substantial damage."

Gregg declined to comment. Investigators blamed the incident on the pilot's failure to refuel the airplane and his inadequate pre-flight preparation. The report lists as a factor in the accident the pilot's selection of an unsuitable landing area.

Kathy Dye can be reached at kdye@juneauempire.com.

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