How do you survive landing an airplane in a tree? Fly it as slow as it will go and carry three ways to summon help. That worked pretty well for 79-year-old John Gregory of McCall, Idaho. The flight training site flym8.com summarized the crash in this Best of the Web video.
On a night flight into McCall on April 22, 2019, Gregory’s Smith Cub had partial power failure, forcing him to land the airplane in the top of a 60-foot tree. “As there was no place to land, other than trees, the pilot concentrated on flying the airplane and to slow it down as much as possible without stalling, thereafter the airplane impacted the trees,” said the NTSB preliminary accident report. News reports gave the airplane type as a Piper PA-18, but the FAA registry lists it as Smith-Cub type EAB.
Although the wreck was a remote location, the local sheriff’s office reached it through the snow with a Sno-Cat. A volunteer firefighter scaled the tree, secured the uninjured Gregory in a harness and lowered him to the ground. When Gregory called the sheriff’s office on his cellphone, they were already aware of the crash, having been notified by the aircraft EPIRB and, evidently, a Spot locator beacon.