- Sen. Jim Inhofe, a pilot for 41 years,
made an emergency landing early Saturday after the propeller fell off his
- Inhofe, R-Okla., was not injured, but
his single-engine airplane was slightly damaged, press secretary Danny
Finnerty. Inhofe was alone in the aircraft.
- Inhofe said he glided for about eight
miles before landing the plane at Claremore Airport. He said he took off
from Ketchum, where he keeps his 1979 Grumman Tiger, and had been in the
air about 10 minutes when trouble began.
- ``I noticed a vibration,'' he said, then
heard a pop as the propeller dropped off.
- The plane became tail heavy and he knew
it would be difficult landing, he said. ``I wasn't sure I could make it,''
- Inhofe, an experienced, commercially
rated pilot, was en route from northeastern Oklahoma to Oklahoma City,
where he was to meet President, who was touring tornado-ravaged parts of
- Finnerty said the FBI has been asked
to investigate because ``propellers don't just fly off airplanes every
- The propeller was found on a county road
about four miles from the airport by G.W. Curtis, who graduated from Central
High School in Tulsa with Inhofe. Curtis returned the propeller to Inhofe
at the airport.
- Inhofe Crashes On Way To OC
- By Ashley Parrish
Tulsa World Staff Writer www.tulsaworld.com
- CLAREMORE -- G.W. Curtiss has a pasture on the outskirts of Claremore.
- And Sen. Jim Inhofe was looking for one
Saturday morning when his plane lost a propeller over the area and he needed
to make a crash landing.
- Luckily, Inhofe wasn't reacquainted with
Curtiss, his former high school classmate, in the pasture. Inhofe's plane,
which started sputtering over Curtiss' house, made it safely to a nearby
- But the two met again anyway.
- Inhofe, an experienced pilot, lost the
propeller over the road to Curtiss' house. With a U.S. senator involved,
the FBI came to investigate the crash, but needed to see the propeller.
- When Curtiss found it, he called the
airport and was put in touch with his former classmate.
- Without a propeller on his single-engine
GA Tiger, Inhofe had to cut the engine and started looking for a place
- He managed to glide all the way to Claremore
Municipal Airport, miles away from Curtiss' pasture.
- He stopped just inches from the runway,
nose first. His personal plane lost a nose wheel in the crash and looked
a little crumpled. But all in all, it was a lucky landing.
- The FBI sent a small army of investigators
to inspect the plane and the propeller.
- "Being an accident with a U.S. senator,
we wanted to make sure it was an accident," said Mickey Hawkins, a
senior supervisory agent.
- Inhofe took off from his property in
Delaware County, he said, although his plane is usually stored at Tulsa's
- Apart from a usual crew, there aren't
too many people with access to his plane, he said. But he wanted every
- "I've never heard of a propeller
falling off a modern aircraft before," Inhofe said.
- Claremore pilots who wandered around
the plane Saturday afternoon admired Inhofe's skill.
- "My kid can ride with him any time,"
said Bill Kendrick, a member of the Oklahoma Aeronautics and Space Commission
who has a hangar at the Claremore airport.
- Inhofe did everything right, and that
is why the crash wasn't worse, he said.
- When Curtiss told his wife about finding
the propeller, she said it was probably from the plane she had seen "spittin'
and sputterin' ." And when he called the airport, they immediately
put Inhofe on the line.
- "That's the story," Inhofe
told reporters. "G.W. Curtiss found it. We were in the class of '53
together at Central High School."
- Curtiss told him where he found it, and
"he wanted to know if I would bring it over," Curtiss said. "He
was tickled to death that it didn't hit anyone."