No serious injuries as small plane skids to grass at Oakland/Troy Airport

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Authorities are investigating after a small plane skidded onto the grass while landing at Oakland/Troy Airport on Tuesday. No major injuries were reported.

Troy police, which responded to the scene, initially described the incident as a crash and rollover. In a statement Wednesday, fire officials said they were called to the site near Coolidge at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on "a report of an airplane that had apparently flipped over, off of the runway" at the county-operated, unstaffed facility without a staffed control tower.

Upon arrival, firefighters saw the pilot had exited the single-engine aircraft and there was no fire or fuel leaking but "obvious damage," according to the release.

"The pilot indicated that he was enjoying his aircraft, with no indication of any malfunction," the Fire Department said. "When he attempted to land, the plane made an abrupt turn into the grassy area alongside the runway and partially cart-wheeled to a stop, but did not flip over. Upon entering the grassy area, the plane then became stuck in the soft earth."

The plane appeared to have damage to the propeller, both wingtips and the landing gear, fire officials said.

A damage estimate was not yet available.

The pilot reported a minor injury to his hand, according to the statement.

He was the only one on board the Cessna, said J. David VanderVeen, Oakland County's director of central services, which oversees the airport.

"In the scheme of things, he was very fortunate," he told The Detroit News on Wednesday.

Firefighters requested that Oakland County Air Traffic Control close the airport until the plane could be removed.

Damage estimates were incomplete.

The incident has been turned over to Troy police and the Federal Aviation Administration for investigation, the Fire Department said.

Considered Oakland County's "executive" airport, the site serves private, corporate and charter aircraft, with nearly 200 tenants and several transient vehicles daily, according to its website and Facebook page.

Oakland/Troy Airport is near Coolidge.

Charter passenger and air freight, as well as aircraft maintenance and fuel, are available on the field. It also has 138 T-Hangars and 40 open, asphalt tie-downs for general aviation aircraft, officials said.

Such an incident like the one on Tuesday is "very rare," VanderVeen said.