BRITISH COLUMBIA

Airpark owner says he warned pilot about engine before B.C. highway landing

04/24/2015 09:52 EDT | Updated 07/22/2015 09:59 EDT
DELTA, B.C. - The owner of an airpark says a pilot who made an emergency landing in the middle of a Delta, B.C., highway this week was warned numerous times that his ultralight aircraft was not in flyable condition.

Arnold Klappe of King George Airpark says he and his mechanic told Paul Deane-Freeman about the condition of his plane's engine on several occasions, and even priced out the parts needed to fix it.

The aircraft, which is kept at Klappe's business, came to rest with its nose against the concrete median of Highway 91 early Wednesday evening.

There was little damage to the plane, but the 49-year-old pilot fractured his spine in the hard landing.

Klappe says he strongly suggested to Deane-Freeman not to fly, but the plane was taken out while no one was around.

He says he's spoken to the Transportation Safety Board and police about the engine, and that Deane-Freeman is no longer welcome at his airpark.

Deane-Freeman says he was circling his house when his engine suddenly seized, yet he was able to get the plane down safely.

"Over Delta, at 1,200 feet, the engine was running really good — and then it wasn't," he says. (News 1130)