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An Illinois pilot ran into trouble Wednesday trying land his plane at a small landing strip in Johnston Township.
Neighbors living nearby the grass strip on Route 88, just west of Route 11 called the Urban Airport, see small planes come and go from time to time and usually don’t pay much attention, but Wednesday was different. When they looked outside, they saw a single engine, single seat plane lying upside down.
The pilot, operating a 2001 Vans RV-8 plane, had just touched down when his landing gear got caught up in the soft ground forcing the plane to flip over.
Neighbors rushed to the scene and said the pilot, Robin D. Whitt, 56, of Loves Park, Ill., told them he had made arrangements to land at the small grass strip, even asking ahead of time if the ground was hard enough to handle his plane.
“I jumped in the car and came down here to see if everybody’s okay. I didn’t see anybody, and when I got here, I saw movement underneath of it,” said Jim Leatherverry. “He was trapped in there, underneath the plane. We went to get some more help and picked the tail up so he could climb out.”
Leatherverry said he and others had to break some of the plexiglass covering the cockpit to free Whitt.
Whitt suffered minor injuries with some cuts and bruising but should be fine.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Whitt’s plane overturned after landing due to the landing gear sinking in the wet grassy landing zone. The plane then rolled tail over nose.
State troopers notified the Federal Aviation Administration about the crash and then stayed on the scene until investigators arrived.