On April 3rd, a retired Marine, who was flying the classic biplane, had landed safely at the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport in Spring, Texas, outside Houston, when a gust of wind pushed the light biplane into a ditch next to the runway. The pilot, who was practicing for a charity competition, and his passenger, walked away unscathed from the accident. According to KHOU, the CBS affiliate in Houston, the unnamed pilot will be questioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The pilot, who was practicing for a charity competition, and his passenger, walked away unscathed from the accident. According to KHOU, the CBS affiliate in Houston, the unnamed pilot will be questioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Air traffic was halted for two hours. Officials, who confirmed that the vintage biplane could be repaired, contained a minor fuel leak before the damaged aircraft was towed away. Activity then resumed at this, the busiest privately owned general aviation airport in Texas.
The David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport started as a runway created by pilot Charles Hooks for his personal use and was opened as an airport for public use in the 1960’s. Shortly after its opening, Charles Hooks’s 16-year-old son, David, was killed in a small plane crash that also took the lives of three other people. The name of the facility was changed from Northwest Airport in his memory.
The name of the facility was changed from Northwest Airport in his memory. It is now a popular hub for single-engine aircraft and the site of several flight schools.
In unrelated incidents at the airport, days before the Stearman mishap, a pilot crashed a small plane into a water runway. The plane flipped over, and he swam to shore. Earlier, an elderly couple sustained minor injuries when their single-engine plane crashed after the 90-year-old pilot experienced brake problems. The plane was totaled in the crash.
The Stearman biplane has a storied past. In 1927, Lloyd Stearman founded Stearman Aircraft Corporation and created the airplane that would become the primary trainer for World War 2 Army and Navy pilots. Many of the heroes of the air war learned to fly in this trainer.
After its military career ended, the iconic open-cockpit trainer enjoyed a new career as a crop duster and glider tug, and it remains a favorite of vintage airplane enthusiasts and apprentice pilots. An expertly restored and well-cared for Stearman will usually sell for more than $100,000. So let us hope the pilot of the Sterman that crashed had insurance!