Dazed and Rescued, ELT 345 Aids in GA Recovery.
28.0617° N°N, 82.2773° W°E
Posted on May 2, 2022 by Daren Busciglio
On February 9th, 2021, I departed Tampa Executive Airport with winds coming west at 12 – 17 miles per hour. Unfortunately, I had an engine out just a few minutes after takeoff at 1500 – 1800 feet above ground level. I was in Phase I in my RV7 with just under four hours of total flight time.
I spotted a field on the north side of Lake Thonotosassa which was a mile to the south of me. There was a fence line along with fifteen foot trees running north and south of the field; splitting the field to the west side larger than the east by two or three times.
Heading northeast towards Zephyrhills Airport (KZPH) at the time of the engine out, I knew I had to land to the west due to the wind. Making a 360 degree turn to the north to lose altitude, I set up for the landing into the wind. I contacted Approach and communicated the engine out and that there was no way of making it back to the airport. Passing over the east fence line, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it over the tree line splitting the field in two. I pitched up a little to try and stretch the glide, but I knew in a few seconds I wasn’t making it over.
Banking left 30 degrees to try and land parallel to the fence but stalled the left wing about fifteen feet above the ground. I remember looking down the left wing as it hit the ground, causing the plane to pivot the nose into the ground and slam the right wing down.
Dazed from the crash, it took me a moment to remember to get out in case the plane catches fire. After a few minutes I dialed 911, not knowing if I was going to pass out from whiplash.
I knew I was going to be doing a lot of cross country flying, so I installed an ARTEX ELT 345. I was lucky to walk away from the crash with only a very sore neck for the next week. A co-owner of the plane, got a call from the Air Force explaining that the ELT 345 had gone off. My friend then got in touch with me at the crash site.
Words of wisdom
As a side note for you pilots; we practice engine outs, but remember in a true engine out your glide distance is a little more than half than in a simulated engine out.
Thank you note
It was comforting to know if I had gone down in a remote location I would have had a search team find me soon due to having a 406 ELT. Having a 121.5 ELT is legal but useless. When you are injured time is of the essence, $800 for saving your life or even to find your body to give your family closure is well worth the cost.
Law Enforcement / Police