'The student was flying solo and lost control of the plane on attempted takeoff'
EUGENE, Ore. - An aircraft owned by Lane Community College suffered damage while a student pilot practiced takeoffs and landings Monday, according to the director of the Lane Aviation Academy.
The plane did not suffer a hard landing, according to Stephen Boulton, director of the academy. Earlier accounts from the FAA and firefighters suggested the plane "bounced upon landing."
"The student was flying solo and lost control of the plane on attempted takeoff," Boulton said Tuesday. "The aircraft departed the runway and hit, I think, a runway edge light and a sign."
No one was injured.
"The plane probably wouldn't really have much, if any, damage except for the unfortunate encounter with a runway sign," Boulton said. "Not many of them out there, so just a really unfortunate circumstance."
Boulton said the student was practicing "stop and goes": taking off, landing, coming to a complete stop, preparing the plane for takeoff, and taking off again.
"It's inevitable that any flight school we'll occasionally have runway excursions," Boulton said. "It's just part of, I'd guess you'd say risk of doing business. These are pilots who are in the process of learning. At some point we have to turn them loose to practice by themselves."
The student had met FAA and flight school standards before practicing solo, Boulton said.
The plane is being preserved until the FAA and NTSB can inspect it.
Depending on what they find, the next step will be to have mechanics from Synergy Air take a look at the aircraft. The firm built the aircraft.
"We'll have some of their mechanic-builders take a look at it," Boulton said, "and then we'll assess what the future will be."