NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - By Donna McCollum - email
NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - The Department of Public Safety has released the name of the airplane pilot who crashed while attempting an emergency landing at the Nacogdoches County airport.
James Ballard Caffey, 41, of Longview was flying an 07 Cirrus from La Porte with plans to land in Longview but lost power while he was over Nacogdoches County. He tried to land at the airport, but instead had to pull an emergency parachute and land in a residential yard, just about 25 yards from the house.
Caffey was not injured in the crash, despite clipping electric lines on the way down.
Federal Aviation Administration officials were on the scene Thursday morning, to investigate the crash.
There's somewhat of a risk living near an airport. This is the second crash off county road 711 occurring in the last two and a half weeks.
The plane went down in the front yard of David Bryan. " I heard kinda like an electrical explosion and what sounded like a car crash," said Bryan.
It's an event Bryan's son, Seth, 11, will remember for a while. " I was just sitting there and I heard a big boom like a crash and then we just all started, well my mom started shrieking," said Seth.
The plane crash landed just yards from the home where the family of five was gathered. David was concerned for everyone.
"My fear was for the pilot and, of course, my kids are okay. My wife was okay. I had to check on the pilot."
Fortunately, Caffey is alive and well. He landed upside down in the cockpit, but crawled out on his own.
The plane was equipped with an airframe parachute system. According to the Cirrus Pilots web site ( www.cirruspilots.org/content/CAPSHistory.aspx ) the ballistic rocket-fired parachute is capable of reducing all forward velocity to zero within 8 seconds.
Planes routinely fly over the Bryan home. "One thousand planes a day fly over head this is two (crashes) in ten years," said Bryan.
" I think it makes you very aware that anything can happen and we need to be prepared for it," commented Mary Uresti, manager of the A.L. Mangham Airport.
The crashes occurring so close to one another in location and timeframe is considered a coincidence. Still, it's the kind of accident no one living along County Road 711 cares to see again.