Airshow Pilot OK After Crash

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Airshow pilot Rob Holland was able to walk away after a forced landing that destroyed his custom MXS-RH aerobatic show plane last week. Holland said in a Facebook post last Wednesday he had taken off from the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, about 4:30 p.m. on March 25, heading for Shreveport, Louisiana. He was about 15 minutes into the flight, at 11,500 feet, when the airplane “had a catastrophic engine failure” and lost all power, he wrote.The canopy was immediately covered with oil and he had “zero forward visibility.” Given the terrain, he determined an off-airport landing was not a good option, and high winds at the surface ruled out a parachute. Depending on his EFIS system, he was able to find a nearby runway, and aimed for it.

“There was a low scattered-to-broken cloud layer around the vicinity of my landing site, which obstructed my view of the runway,” Holland wrote. “I glided through an opening in the clouds.” The runway, at an abandoned airfield, was only about 30 feet wide and 1,650 feet long, Holland wrote. He touched down at a normal landing speed of about 90 knots, but with a 20-knot tailwind. About 200 feet down the runway, the landing gear hit a large piece of stray debris — part of a roof blown there by Hurricane Harvey, Holland wrote. The left main landing gear was torn completely off the plane. The plane skidded on its belly down the runway, coming to rest about 30 feet off the right side of the runway. “The plane remained upright and straight the entire time,” Holland wrote. Holland was unhurt, but the airplane is damaged beyond repair, he said. He is already working with MX Aircraft to build a new airplane, he said.

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