The grass landing strip of the Taylorsville Airport northeast of Hickory, North Carolina (NC), saw one of the stranger plane crashes I've learned about since earning my own small plane pilot's license in the mid-1990s.
On the afternoon of April 26, 2014, a single-engine Citabria 7ECA ran out of control after landing, flipped over and clipped a 74-year-old man who was mowing the buffer area at the end of the taxiway. The victim suffered a near-amputation of one hand, lost a dangerous amount of blood and needed to be taken by helicopter to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
The pilot sustained no injuries, and it is unclear why he was unable to stop or keep his aircraft upright on its wheels. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have gone to Taylorsville to determine the cause of the accident.
Each pilot has the responsibility to control his plane safely from the time he or she enters the cockpit until he or she exits the aircraft. Takeoffs and landings present particular challenges, but taxiing requires no less attention and care. This is especially true when flying into and out of rural airfields that, like the one in Taylorsville, lack air traffic controllers. Also, pilots who own and their own small planes need to also make sure their craft are regularly inspected and repaired. Even the smallest mechanical flaw or missed maintenance can create situations in which people get injured or killed.