Colorado Pilot Walks Away From Forced Landing, On Borrowed Snowshoes


A pilot who lost power and force-landed near Montrose, Colorado, was able to walk to a rescue site after a Good Samaritan medevac helicopter dropped him a pair of snowshoes.

Randy Boykin, 63, reportedly declared an emergency when his Zenith CH 750 experienced what he reported as a “mechanical issue” leading to a loss of engine power. The crash landing in snow-covered terrain flipped the aircraft, but Boykin apparently escaped uninjured.

Another aircraft heard his transmission and located the crash site on Uncompahgre (Ute for “Rocks that make water red”) Plateau in far-west Colorado.

The circling pilot was able to contact Boykin by radio and provide first responders with location coordinates, but the site was too remote for Sheriff’s Department snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to easily reach. The medevac helicopter, operated by Montrose-based CareFlight of the Rockies, overflew the location and dropped the snowshoes. Boykin was then able to walk to a location where the helicopter could land and take him back to his home base airport.

Montrose County Sheriff’s Office Commander Ty Cox told local news outlets, “It is incredible that the pilot only sustained minor injuries and we are extremely grateful for this outcome, as it could have been much worse. Mr. Boykin did an outstanding job attempting to land the aircraft in an area free of any trees or other hazards.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Seems to me as a helio pilot that the chopper pilot could have brought the skids to snow level
    to allow the person to board.
    Just sayin