Pilot Faces Charges In Roadway Takeoff Crash

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Sometimes things just go from bad to worse. According to the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal, a 25-year-old Timmins, Ont., pilot faces a fine of up to $10,000 in a chain of events that began with a successful emergency road landing and ended with his badly damaged Grumman American in a ditch after an aborted takeoff. The aircraft apparently had engine problems while on a flight to Thunder Bay and the pilot set it down on a gravel road near the hamlet of Hurkett, Ont., about 80 kilometers east of Thunder Bay. The pilot apparently fixed the problem to his satisfaction and thatís when the real trouble started.

The pilot tried to take off but the aircraft slipped on some ice and slid into a ditch. According to witness Jim White, the planeís nose gear sheared and thereís damage to the main gear, wings and nose. "It hit (the ditch) pretty good," said White, who helped the pilot push the damaged plane onto his property. The pilot was reportedly shaken but not seriously hurt. To make a bad day worse, police arrived to inform the pilot heís allegedly violated provincial laws concerning roadway takeoffs. According to Ontario law, before anyone flies off a road, the aircraft has to be checked for airworthiness and police must be called to barricade a section of the road to accommodate the takeoff. The pilot will be in court to face the charges Feb. 25.