Kicker: Landing a plane in a pine


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Maybe you’ve heard it said, it’s far better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground.

This was John Gregory’s day as he flew his lightweight airplane over a small town in Idaho.  

As he flew, the plane’s single propeller stopped propelling. Gregory needed to think fast!

So he steered toward an open field. But he realized he wasn’t going to make it. He’d crash before he could get to a clearing. He ended up landing in the treetops, still 60 feet from the ground. He was stuck at the top of a huge pine.

One of the volunteer firemen who arrived on the scene happened to own a tree-removal company. Good thing, too! Randy Acker knows his way around treetops.

He cut branches as he scaled the tree, stopped about 20 feet from the top, and that’s where he got to the branches that were holding the plane.

Acker managed to cut Gregory free of the plane’s restraints, secure him to a safety line, and ever so slowly inch him to the ground. This whole thing took a couple of hours.

How to get the plane down? That’s going to take a while longer.

At least the 79-year-old pilot is uninjured.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


(Undersheriff Jason Speer/Valley County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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