Pilot charged in flawed crash landing

COTTONWOOD -- The Oklahoma pilot who crash-landed a small airplane on Airport Road adjacent to the Cottonwood Airport Monday has now been charged with the accident.

Cottonwood Police Department, in a joint investigation with the FAA, has charged pilot Kelly Thompson in connection with the May 6 crash.

Thompson, 65, has been charged with operating an airplane without a proper license, operating a not-airworthy aircraft, and reckless aircraft operations. Thompson was cited and released on his promise to appear at the Cottonwood Municipal Court.

Thompson initially told investigators that the runway lights were not operational. Investigation into the runway lighting system revealed that it was operating correctly and it is believed that pilot error was a contributing factor into the runway lights not operating.

Though the pilot was walking around after the plane crashed into the perimeter fence and roadway, he suffered two broken vertebra and was treated at Flagstaff Medical Center.

Police were called by a neighbor at Cottonwood Ranch when he heard a low flying airplane and then a crashing sound.

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