Pilot makes emergency landing

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Cassville Police Officer Bill Watkins stands nearby the single-engine airplane that had to make an emergency landing in Cassville on Sunday. Pilot Mike Schlichtman and passenger Chuck Nickle, who were not injured, gather up their belongings from inside the plane before it was transported to the Cassville Municipal Airport. Chuck Nickle Photography

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.

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  • Glad you're OK Mike. Try some Gorilla glue on that prop next time.

    -- Posted by the JAGA on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 6:34 PM
  • I lost my prop when a C-172 flew through me from behind in the pattern, so I was about 1000 AGL. In a few days, fter my BP returned to normal, I examined the GPS trace and found where I turned to the airport. I then took the gps out in the car and found the Cessna's vertical stablizer about 20 feet from the road along with my propeller fragments. So you might try this to find your missing blades.

    -- Posted by skyking1066 on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 1:59 PM
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