Pilot talks about surviving Boyle County plane crash

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BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT)- The FAA is trying to figure out why a homebuilt Zenith airplane crashed in Boyle County just north of Juncion City Sunday afternoon. The pilot said shortly after takeoff, the airplane wouldn't climb.

James Board had been looking forward to Sunday's flight for a while. He had been working on the airplane for about six years.

"The whole time of the building process, you're wondering, 'Is it going to fly right?'" Board said.

Board got an answer to that question pretty quickly Sunday afternoon. As he was climbing out of nearby Stuart Powell Field, he ran into trouble.

"It was kind of mushy and it just was kind of holding its own but it wouldn't gain any," he said.

Board said he'd climbed up to about 350 feet when the airplane just wouldn't climb any more. He said his emergency training kicked in. The old saying among pilots is that you want to fly the airplane as far into the crash as possible. The idea is to do everything you can to land safely right up until the point of impact.

"I kept trying to keep away from houses and anything other than open fields. I was looking at the highway (US 127) because I didn't think I could make it back to the airport. I looked at the highway and there was a lot of traffic so I spotted this field and that's where I was heading. Of course I clipped the electric line and I wound up in those cherry trees. I think the electric line and cherry trees kind of took the impact of it because I didn't hit hard," Board said.

The airplane ended up in a treeline along US 127. Board was able to walk away with scratches on his hands and a bruise on his shoulder. The FAA will try to figure out what went wrong with the airplane. Board thinks his homebuilding days might be done.

"I doubt very seriously if I'll do anything to it besides strip it down. I told one of my flying friend yesterday I'll just leave the flying up to you," he said.

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