Pilot Sneaks Away From Crash

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Photo: Times Union

Photo: Times Union

Lots of pilots walk away from plane crashes but Fred Jackson admits he snuck away from one in Altamont, N.Y., June 14. Jackson told the Albany Times Union he was trying to keep the crash of his newly restored Piper Clipper from the FAA when he shinnied down a tree and left the expensive aircraft literally hanging. He told the owner of the property on which he'd set down the Clipper about the mishap but he didn't tell his next-door neighbor. Eugene DiCerbo found the aircraft while on his way to a shed at the back of his property and alerted the local police, who, in turn let the FAA know.  

Jackson said he was test flying the Clipper after its $100,000 restoration, which included adding drooping wing extensions. The engine failed and he misjudged the approach to a nearby airstrip. He headed for the trees and escaped the crash with exactly one scratch on the bridge of his nose. He told the property owner he'd be back with equipment to recover the airplane but before he did so he went to Lock Haven, Pa., to attend Sentimental Journey, the annual fly-in of Piper aircraft at the original Piper plant. Jackson had intended to fly the Clipper there but rather than miss the event, which he attends every year, he opted to leave the aircraft where it was. He intends to fix the airplane. "It was just bad luck," he told the newspaper. "And good luck."