Flight instructor watches in horror as student pilot crashes plane

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jan 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-20 19:04:38-05

LOWELL, Mich.-- It was a scary sight Monday night as a single-engine plane came crashing to the ground just feet from a home in Lowell.

It happened as the flight instructor stood near the Lowell City Airport runway waiting for his student pilot to come in.

Jeff Ostrander, owner of Majestic Air, said that the pilot was coming in too fast and too high.

"For some reason, during the climb out, he lost airspeed and stalled the airplane," Ostrander said. "It was obviously just a frightening thing to see."

Ostrander said he heard the plane crash.

That's when he began running for a quarter of a mile before finding the Cessna 127 lying in the driveway of a home on Lincoln Lake Avenue. Miraculously the pilot, who Ostrander doesn't want to name, walked away from the scene.

"My pilot's okay and I thank God for that," Ostrander said.

Ostrander said he's unsure about what exactly went wrong, saying the pilot has 20 hours of experience, which is enough for him to fly solo.

While the Federal Aviation Administration isn't saying much about the investigation, manager of the airport, Casey Brown, said the pilot did everything right by attempting what he calls a "go around." He said the airport is safe despite its challenges, which includes a shorter runway of about 2,500 feet.

"On a 4,000 foot runway, theoretically if I'm coming in too fast and too high, I could land on the middle of the runway and still have time to be slowed down and stopped long before the end of the runway,"Brown said. "That's not an option here, you actually have to land where you're expected to land on the runway in order to get down safely."

The FAA expects their investigation to be complete in two weeks.