By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
ASHLAND – Attorney-pilot John Booth Farese’s airplane fuel switch was in the “off” position June 27 when he set out from Holly Springs, the Federal Aviation Administration says.
“I’ve had that plane for three years and I’ve never turned the fuel gauge off, ” the 67-year-old Farese said Thursday on vacation with his family in the Colorado mountains.
But this time, he said, the mechanic did so for a reason and told him it wasn’t on, after Farese started up the engine and noticed it wasn’t venting a little fuel as usual.
“He said, ‘It would, if it was turned on,’” Farese recalled. “I just didn’t make the connection.”
Eleven days ago, the well-known partner of Farese amp& Farese amp& Farese set out at 5:30 p.m. in his single-engine Cessna 182Q headed for his private grass air strip near Ashland.
Seconds later the airplane’s engine lost all power about 200 feet up and headed nose-down into the forested Marshall County countryside until a brand new small-plane parachute deployed and brought the aircraft back to level.
As the plane crashed through the trees, Farese said he expected a tremendous impact but was surprised at how harsh it was.
Emergency medical personnel took him to The Med in Memphis for treatment of relatively minor injuries.
Thursday, he said he was just starting to “feel like myself again” after realizing his entire body was affected by the crash.
“Every day, I’m doing a little better,” he said.
The FAA report, described as preliminary, states that the plane’s cockpit fuel selector valve was found in the “off” position.
“A written statement by a local mechanic who had just completed the airplane’s annual inspection revealed that the mechanic had informed the pilot that the fuel selector was in the ‘off’ position and that the pilot acknowledged that statement,” the report concludes.
Speaking shortly after the accident, Farese talked about his 44 years of flight experience on a range of aircraft.
“I tell my friends and new pilots that the most dangerous time is when the plane comes out of an annual inspection,” he noted Thursday.
“I wasn’t looking for it – I took off with 100 percent confidence.
“It just shows, if there’s room for error, it will happen.”
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.