No injuries after glider ‘landout’ at Birchwood Airport

Sunday, April 23, 2017 - 19:31

Emergency vehicles responding to a report of a plane crash at the Birchwood Airport Sunday instead found a glider that came to rest in a field near the airport.

According to a public Nixle statement issued at 3:55 p.m., “The glider did a ‘landout’ immediately after taking off.”

Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department assistant chief Chris Wilkins said the glider belongs to the Civil Air Patrol. Two people were aboard, Wilkins said.

“They had some sort of a problem on that initial takeoff and elected to put the airplane down in a grass field,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins said CVFRD crews were dispatched at 3:11 p.m. Due to the nature of the initial report, Wilkins said a “full response” of six units rushed to the scene. Once it was determined there was no crash, Wilkins said emergency responders quickly stood down, with units off the scene by 3:45 p.m.

It is not uncommon for glider pilots to practice “landouts,” a term used to describe controlled landings that take place away from conventional runways. The Federal Aviation Administration’s online regulation handbook for glider pilots advises student pilots to practice simulated landouts in fields in order to prepare for the real thing.

“These landings should be practiced on local flights by setting up a simulated off field landing area,” reads the guide, which is available at

Sunday’s incident happened three days after the one-year anniversary of a crash near the airport that killed four people after their palne struck an eagle near the airport and went down near Beach Lake Road.

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