Studentlands plane upside down in harbor

Published on Thu, Sep 9, 2004 by ack Kintner

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Student lands plane upside down in harbor

By Jack Kintner

Flight instructor Tyler Glahn, 20, of Blaine and his student, 50-year-old John Becker of Eastsound, were injured Friday evening when a Piper Cub floatplane they were flying flipped over in Drayton Harbor during a training flight. The aircraft belongs to Glahn’s father, Air Canada pilot Guy Glahn.

Becker said he was flying the aircraft from the front seat practicing water landings and take-offs when he lost control at a low altitude and airspeed and went into the water.

Glahn said he was sitting where the instructor normally does, in the back, and when Becker lost control there was not enough altitude to recover. He declined to speculate further on what may have caused Becker to lose control of the aircraft, saying that “I’ll be talking with the FAA about this, so I don’t want to get into it until I’ve had a chance to do that.”

The aircraft came to rest inverted in the water. Glahn and Becker managed to get out of the cabin and climb on top of the floats, where they were picked up by two men in a Boston Whaler who had seen the accident and rushed over.

Several fire department engines and aid cars had responded and were present by the time the two men were returned to shore in the Blaine Marina.

Firefighter Leslee Smith of Whatcom County fire district 13’s Birch Bay station said that the two men were conscious, alert and oriented but were also quite cold from being in the water. “Glahn had two severe head lacerations,” she said, “so we immobilized him as a precaution until a spinal fracture could be ruled out. Becker had a fractured ankle.”

Both were transported to St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham, where Becker was treated and released. Glahn was admitted and returned home Sunday. The aircraft was retrieved Monday and the damage is currently being evaluated. No figure for the loss was available.