Maiden voyage has lucky crash-landing

A small light-sport experimental plane crash-landed northwest of the Cottonwood Airport Wednesday morning. Remarkably, the pilot walked away from the plane with only minor injuries to his arm. He refused further medical attention,

Kenneth Knowles told emergency crews that the flight had been his maiden voyage in the small Sonex kit plane he had built himself.

Knowles said the plane had a power problem after taking off from the Cottonwood airstrip. He told the rescue crews that he knew he could not return to the airstrip and looked around for flat land to put down. The plane landed on its wheels in scrub chaparral on undeveloped land between Verde Heights and Groseta Ranch Road. Because the plane ran a distance through the brush, the windshield was broken out, and the left wing, propeller and landing gear were damaged.

Bob Luna, who has been the airport manager in Cottonwood, says Knowles lives in Prescott Valley but brought the plane on a trailer to the Cottonwood field.

He has had the small plane tied town at the airport for about six months, taxiing around the strip and doing pre-flight checks. The pilot, at 89 years old, reportedly has lengthy aircraft experience.

Sonex is a kit built aircraft company based in Oshkosh, Wis. The kit retains for about $14,000.

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