Pilot makes emergency landing
A local pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in the field next to Fasco on Sunday morning after he lost the propeller on his single-engine airplane.
Mike Schlichtman, of Cassville, was able to successfully land the Zenith CH750 airplane and walk away without injury as was his passenger, Chuck Nickle.
"There was a quick shudder and then a loud bang," said Schlichtman. "I turned to Chuck and said 'that's not good.'"
Assessing the situation, Schlichtman realized he was going to have to land the plane as quickly as possible.
"I wasn't getting any response from the throttle and had lost thrust," said Schlichtman. "I knew we were going down, and it wasn't going to be at the airport."
Schlichtman, who has been a private pilot since 1991, said he had to make a quick decision about where to land the plane. Rather than landing at the school or the Industrial Park, Schlichtman said he chose to land in the Fasco field because he knew the terrain was smooth.
"I had to do a 360 over the field to lose altitude and then I came in over Gary Keen's old hay barn and landed," said Schlichtman. "Everything was going fine until the nose wheel touched down in the heavy snow and collapsed. It was only then that I realized we didn't have a prop."
Cassville Police Officer Bill Watkins and Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr were the first law enforcement officials to arrive at the scene. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was alerted about the incident and advised Schlichtman to secure the airplane in his hangar at the Cassville Municipal Airport.
"I'd like to personally thank everyone who helped us on Sunday . . . Bill, Dana, Chip Kammerlohr, Kenny Schieler, Steve Walensky, John Lueckenhoff, Greg Curnes and Jesse Dick," said Schlichtman.
"I'd also like to thank Chuck for remaining so calm," said Schlichtman. "The only thing Chuck said was 'are we going to crash?' and I said 'no.'"
Schlichtman said he believes the propeller may have come off the plane when a piece of one blade tip broke off.
"This in turn would have put the propeller out of balance and quickly created enough vibration to sheer the belts that hold it on," said Schlichtman. "There is a gash in the left wing to support that theory."
Schlichtman is offering a $100 reward for the return of the propeller, which has still not been located.
The FAA is currently investigating the incident.