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84-Year-Old Pilot Survives Livermore Plane Crash

Accident at Livermore airport caused when pilot's foot got stuck underneath plane's steering pedals, officials said.

An 84-year-old man suffered a lower-back injury after crashing a plane at the Livermore airport Thursday afternoon, Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department Battalion Chief Jack Neiman-Kimel said.

The crash was reported just before 3 p.m. when a Cessna 170 plane, attempting to land at the airport, made a hard left turn away from the runway and crashed into the dirt, Neiman-Kimel said.

The pilot's foot got stuck underneath one of the plane's steering pedals, which caused the plane to veer to the left, Neiman-Kimel said

"The plane was pretty trashed," Neiman-Kimel said of the damage, adding that the plane was traveling at around 60 mph at the time of the accident. "It ended up facing the opposite direction when it landed."

The pilot was the only passenger in the plane and no other injuries were reported.

MTCWBY March 21, 2013 at 11:22 PM
There's a lot of 84 year olds that are more competent than quite a few 20-somethings. FYI, I'm a 40 something pilot.
MTCWBY March 21, 2013 at 11:24 PM
You go through a medical certification every 2 years at that age. The regs don't say anything about age past 40.
jewlie Burns March 21, 2013 at 11:26 PM
I sounds like abe had nothing to do with it...glad hes okay though
Michael Delfino March 21, 2013 at 11:29 PM
I don't agree with having age restrictions on anything like driving, flying, etc. However, there should absolutely be routine testing done as someone ages. It's a simple fact of life that not everyone as they age still has the same coordination, motor control, etc. as the average person in their 20's or 30's. Having said that, there are absolutely people well into their 70's, 80's and even 90's who are still sharp as a knife, and people in their 20's who I wouldn't trust riding a go-cart.
mike March 21, 2013 at 11:34 PM
They tried shafting Bob Hoover due to his age often. Jim Niesen flew his Jenny into an old age.
MTCWBY March 21, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Every pilot goes through both a flight review test every two years and a medical review between 6 months and 3 years depending on level and age. Something everyone should understand is that aircraft ground steering is done with your feet. If you get a foot stuck it's the equivalent and having something stuck through your steering wheel. It could happen to anyone.
Casey Rae Henshaw March 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM
The man's age isn't a factor in the accident. Anyone's foot can slip under a pedal, it's simply an accident. I'm glad that he is alive and other then a lower back injury doing well
LL March 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Actually, the guy is a fantastic pilot.
Megan March 22, 2013 at 12:25 AM
agree with Casey's comment-
Robert March 22, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Thank goodness the gentleman is ok. God Bless him!
Jake The Dog March 22, 2013 at 01:35 AM
I apologize, didn't realize Casey Rae Henshaw already completed an investigation and determined his age wasn't a factor.
Mike H March 22, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Probably more to the story. Not to difficult to pull your foot out if it slips off the pedal.
T-bone March 22, 2013 at 01:24 PM
I drove past the accident seen on the east frontage road. Wind sock was 90 degree crosswind to the runways. Wing dihedral was a bit negative compared to stock and the right gear appeared to be folded. Stuck foot, ground loop, hard to say but glad the pilot wasn't injured worse. Real men fly taildraggers so my hat is off to the pilot. BTW, pilots must pass a two year flight review and medical exam. Be more afraid of the untested driver next to you on the freeway texting.
April Baby March 22, 2013 at 02:50 PM
So glad he's ok and that it didn't happen in the air and end up somewhere else...and wow, 84 and flying....I hope to be that well off at 84 yrs of age!
RB Victor March 22, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Roger that, T-bone!
David March 22, 2013 at 08:38 PM
The headline doesn't mention if he's Pro-Gun or not.
goopygeer March 22, 2013 at 10:41 PM
When interviewed on KTVU, the pilot said, "The foot pedals on these Cessnas sure are different than those Sopwith Camels I'm used to flying"...
Michael Delfino March 22, 2013 at 10:50 PM
MTCWBY, I'm curious as I just don't know, so please don't take this as me arguing with you, but simply looking to educate myself. You hear stories on the news where someone mistakes the brake for the accelerator, loses control of the steering wheel, etc. Many of these cases is because the person's reflexes, motor control, etc. have deteriorated to such a point where they're no longer suitable to be driving a 2,000+ pound missile. In this example of getting a foot stuck on the steering pedal (or whatever it's called), how much motor control/coordination does that take?
Heather March 23, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Funny joke. Someday, when you're experiencing one of the worst days of your life, I hope someone affords you more kindness than you've seen fit to show my father.
MTCWBY March 23, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Michael, the rudder pedals on a Cessna are fairly big and of equal size with a lot of room around them. They're kind of hanging in air due to the way they're mounted and I've had a dress shoe heel get stuck momentarily. The ergonomics are 1960's car which is to say they aren't good. Also, planes handle on the ground pretty badly. Very mushy, small wheels, and bad differential brakes. In fact on a lot of them you steer more with brakes than the rudder depending on your speed. The fact that it was a taildragger in what was reported as high crosswinds means that it's not easy and many pilots have this happen. It's the equivalent of a fender-bender in aviation circles. Nothing usually gets hurt except your pride and sheet metal. FYI, flying is a very different skill set than driving. There's usually a lot less to hit but you have to think in three dimensions and wind affects you a lot more.
Analisa March 23, 2013 at 06:47 AM
Get well soon : )
brian March 23, 2013 at 09:04 PM
get well soon uncle, my thoughts are with you, brian
Analisa March 23, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Heather, I hope that your dad gets better soon. Mean people suck. just ignore them. Best wishes to you and yours .take care : )
Bj Darnell March 24, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Dido Heather. He is a great pilot flying 60 some odd years of his 85 year alive! Get well Uncle Don Beverley
Megan March 24, 2013 at 08:03 AM
Age is NOT always a factor-
Tawny Kotla March 24, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Heather & the rest of the family... I hope your dad feels better real soon, and I'm sooo glad it wasn't a worse plane crash. That kind of thing does happen a lot. Some of these rude and uneducated people who have commented on here seem to not care about the well-being of the pilot. I'm sorry! My husband worked at the Liv Airport for years and is also a Cessna pilot. I'm sure he knows your dad but hasn't seen this yet; I'll let him know. Anyway, yah, don't let these jack... get to you! Have a wonderful life, and your dad, too!!!
ns March 25, 2013 at 03:25 AM
Way to go uncle Don, still causing controversy and getting into the papers! Do you know what the word retired means? ;) P.S. I love youand I'm so glad you are safe Nina
Mo March 25, 2013 at 06:54 AM
I'm impressed that the pilot crash-landed w/o suffering more serious injury. That has to prove he can react quickly and has the excellent skills to land as safely as possible when finding himself in such a precarious situation. I pray he recovers quickly. I'm sure he, his family and friends feel very fortunate that he's okay. I'm also impressed with his quick wit when being interviewed about the crash. He sounds like a great guy!
Robert March 27, 2013 at 09:20 PM
not familiar with that term!
Robert March 27, 2013 at 09:22 PM
God bless you and your family Heather...hope your father gets better soon

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