Tragedy averted at new airport

by Buckley Jensen

Two big mistakes cost a Colorado man about $40,000 on September 14. That was a bargain, however, because investigators said it could have been much worse.

Flying to Monticello, Bradley Ghent of Edwards, CO saw the beacon and the beautiful airport on the east side of Highway 191 north of Monticello. He lowered the landing gear in his Piper Commanche and prepared to land.

As he descended to the new 6,000-foot runway on the east side of the highway, he forgot that he had already lowered his landing gear. He “lowered” it again which, in fact, resulted in the landing gear being retracted back into the aircraft.

Despite heavy equipment in the area and gravel on the runway, Ghent came in for his landing. With no wheels, he landed on the belly of the plane. Miraculously the pilot walked away. His plane was not so lucky.

Local pilot Don Kilgrow talked to the distraught pilot and said he was beside himself. Ghent said he did not know what he was going to tell his wife, whom he reported has never been pleased or patient with $40,000 mistakes.

Kilgrow suggested perhaps the fact that her husband had not been killed might mitigate her wrath somewhat.

The pilot said he never saw the airport on the west side of the highway.

It appears the new airport is so impressive from the air that people are already just about dying to land there.

According to the Times Independent, on September 12, La Sal pilot Tim Martin landed an airplane with six passengers on Route 211 near the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

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