WMU News

Two WMU aviation students unharmed after separate flight mishaps

March 10, 1999

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Two Aer Lingus cadets from Western Michigan University's International Pilot Training Centre walked away unharmed today after unrelated landing incidents at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek.

The cadets were making their third and fourth solo flights in good flying conditions.

In the first incident this morning, a 1998 Cessna 172 flown by Jonathan Williamson, 18, slipped off the runway after landing, hit a snowbank and flipped over. In the second incident this afternoon, Caitriona Murphy, 19, flying an identical plane, landed and then her plane also slipped off the runway and came to rest in a snowbank.

Both cadets were unharmed and were examined by doctors as a precaution. The first incident resulted in moderate damage to the plane's wings. It will be repaired. The second incident resulted in less damage and that plane also will be repaired.

Federal Aviation Administration officials from Grand Rapids have been to Battle Creek twice today and have completed their investigations. Their findings are not yet available.

"A single such incident is rare for our program, but two such incidents in one day is certainly something we never expect", says David Thomas, interim director of the School of Aviation Sciences. "It is, however, not unheard of for such events to happen when working with new training pilots." He noted that a number of factors may have played a role today and those include weather-related runway conditions as well as pilot inexperience.

For further information about the incident or about WMU's flight training programs, contact Thomas, at (616) 964-4744.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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