Vernon and North Okanagan
Skydive plane makes emergency landing
Aug 27, 2013 / 5:00 am
It was a close call on Sunday afternoon for an Okanagan Skydive plane.
Owner Bret Chalmers says the pilot was returning to the Vernon airport after dropping skydivers when the Cessna 182 jump plane he was piloting showed signs of engine problems, around 5 p.m.
"He was on final approach for the airport and he didn't feel he could make the runway safely, so he decided to make an emergency landing in a farmer's field," said Chalmers.
The pasture-turned-airstrip is just south of Vernon near Allan Brooks Nature Centre, on a piece of city property that is leased to Coldstream Ranch.
Chalmers says his first thought when he heard the news on Sunday evening was whether everybody was safe.
"There was no damage to the plane, no damage to the property, and nobody was injured. Now it's just a matter of time and money [to address the situation]" he said.
The plane was not carrying any passengers at the time of the emergency landing.
It is reported that the plane's engine lost power for unknown reasons.
Chalmers says jump planes are held to the same safety standards as commercial airlines like Westjet. Okanagan Skydive planes receive regular maintenance as well as full safety and mechanical inspections every 50 hours.
"We really haven't had anything like this happen before. It's the first time in Okanagan Skydive's 25 years of history that we've had to do an emergency landing outside of the intended landing area," said Chalmers.
Okanagan Skydive was at the site of the emergency landing area on Monday to assess the situation. They are hoping to identify and repair the problem, and fly the plane back to Vernon airport.
Pilot Ted Bates was standing by -- he says this sort of thing isn't particularly common, but it does happen.
"It's not an everyday occurrence, that's for sure," he said.
If it's not possible to fly the plane out, plan B is to remove the wings and haul the plane out on a flatbed truck.
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