UPDATE: The airplane that crash-landed on the tarmac at Half Moon Bay Airport Monday afternoon belongs to Ocean Colony resident Jim Williams. Sounding cavalier about the accident, the 74-year-old pilot said he’s fine, but his $500,000 plane won’t be in working shape for this year’s Pacific Coast Dream Machines event in April.
At about 2:30 p.m. Williams was touching down on the western runway at the airport when the left leg of his landing gear folded, sending he and his replica World War II era plane into a 60-mile-per-hour skid. After spinning 180 degrees, the plane veered off into a meadow on the shoulder of the runway and stopped – “luckily,” Williams says.
“The trouble with these World War II fighter types (is) if they flip upside down the canopy goes into the ground and you can’t get out,” he said.
At 2:45 p.m. airport personnel were tending to the aircraft, a Yak 3 Russian fighter replica, on the side of the runway. Williams was the only one inside and walked away from the crippled plane feeling fine. The plane was towed to a nearby hangar.
The plane’s parts were manufactured in Romania and shipped to Williams in 2003, the pilot said.
Williams said he’d only been flying the plane for about a month – about 20 hours worth.
When asked if he’d seek compensation from the manufacturer, Williams chuckled.
“No, that wouldn’t work in Romania. I have insurance.”