TELLURIDE – The pilot of a single-engine aircraft that crashed at the Telluride Regional Airport (TEX) on Sunday, Oct. 14, at approximately 11 a.m., walked away without injuries, according to the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office.
“The winds were pretty strong Sunday,” TEX Manager Rich Nuttall said the morning after the crash. The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A36 turboprop, piloted by a 51-year-old Mt. Crested Butte resident, took off to the west, but shortly after becoming airborne, it veered to the southwest and could not gain altitude. The aircraft hit the ground about 200 yards south of the TEX runway, and then skidded another 100 yards, crashing into the airport perimeter fence and some oakbrush, stopping within 30 feet of a steep cliff. The aircraft was extensively damaged, but there was no fire.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA have been notified and will conduct an investigation. The incident is the second accident at TEX in the last two months. On September 1, a Great Lakes Airlines twin propeller carrying 10 passengers and two crewmembers made a successful emergency landing at TEX after the pilot noticed a warning light indicating the left landing gear was malfunctioning. That plane circled the airport until police, fire and Emergency Medical Service personnel could be readied for response, then made a successful emergency landing with minor damages.
“He was pretty close to the edge there,” TEX Manager Rich Nuttall said of the Oct. 14 crash, adding: “Any landing you can walk away from is a good thing. You can always replace an airplane – or a car. The crew did a good job; everybody did their thing, and everything turned out good.
“Hopefully,” Nuttall said, “there will be no more incidents for awhile.”