Crash landing surprises air show

No one injured as plane falls through trees


The crippled remains of James Lucas’ plane lay upside down in a small mud bog off Hays road where it crashed on Sunday.

The pilot’s training and experience and an airplane designed for safety kept an unfortunate situation from being much worse Sunday during Hood River’s Fly-In.

James Leroy Lucas and his daughter, Jolie Lucas-Holt, had just taken off for a trip to Eugene with Jolie’s daughter and friend when the plane failed to develop enough power and lift to gain proper altitude.

At this point, Lucas-Holt, who had piloted the take-off, relinquished controls to her dad, and credits him and his beloved 1963 Mooney with keeping everybody alive.

“His skill and experience paid off, and he kept his wits about him,” she said. “and the Mooney is different in that it has a steel cage and roll bar, and a steel spar in the wings, which is a unique design in wings.”

Her dad, who has been flying since WWII, looked for a place to make an emergency landing and ended up clipping the tops of some trees and landing in a mud pond.

“When you look at the plane it’s really startling because it is just destroyed,” Lucas-Holt said. “But the cabin is perfect, not a crack in the windows. She really took one for the team.”

The Lucases had owned the plane for 25 years, and Lucas-Holt really felt the loss. But she knew that it had kept her and her family safe.

“We hit the trees at 50 mph. That’s like having a car accident at that speed. And when we hit the last tree we fell 30 feet to the ground. But we all climbed out and that says a lot about the safety of that airplane.”

The fire department was waiting for them and took them to the hospital for tests, but the injuries were minor.

Lucas and his wife had flown up from Setter Creek, Calif., for the event, and Lucas-Holt said that her parents and she had all been volunteers there. She had played the night before in the White Salmon Jazz Band.

Lucas-Holt is not daunted by the experience. On the contrary, she felt that it reinforced the safety of airplanes.

“I need to get back in an airplane soon,” she said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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