Cheney Aviation owner's plane crashes

A sheriff's captain said David Cheney reported blinding sunlight and wind contributed to the Monday afternoon wreck.

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Paramedics and firefighters carry a man from the scene of a single-engine plane crash in a field off Whitman Drive in College Place, Wash. Monday afternoon December 13, 2010. According to witnesses on scene the plane came down through the row of trees (background) and crashed into the uddy field. The man was reported to have extricated himself from the wreckage of the plane and then was strapped to the backboard and taken to an area hospital.

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Family and friends of the pilot look at the back of a digital camera to view photos taken by Steven Haddad (far left) of the plan as it crashed through a stand of trees and into a field off Whitman Drive Monday afternoon. Haddad said he was outside taking pictures of the sunset and then started tracking the plane for photos and kept shooting as it crashed.

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In this courtesy photo provided by Steven Haddad a single engine aircraft can be seen crashing through a stand of trees in a field just north of Whitman Drive near Martin Field Monday afternoon. Haddad said he had been out photographing the sunset when he spotted the plane and started taking photos of it.

COLLEGE PLACE -- A rare moment of clear winter sky coupled with wind is said to be the cause of a local pilot crashing his plane.

David Cheney, owner of Cheney Aviation at Martin Air Field, crashed his 1941 Taylorcraft two-seater airplane onto a muddy field near Whitman Drive just before 4 p.m. Monday, according to emergency responders.

The pilot told deputies from the Walla Walla County Sheriff's office that he was coming in for a final approach when he was blinded by the sun and caught by the wind about the same moment. The gust blew the Taylorcraft into the trees where it struck some branches, Capt. Bill White said this morning.

Cheney, 82, was able to emerge from the wreckage with assistance from the first responder to the scene, said Chief Rocky Eastman of Fire District 4.

The pilot is reported to have suffered cuts to his head, but no major injuries. He was taken by ambulance to Providence St. Mary Medical Center, Eastman said. "It was a very good outcome."

"There is no information available by a patient of that name," noted Kathleen Obenland, director of public affairs for the hospital.

The family declined to comment on the accident this morning.

Although the plane is in one piece, it is likely a total loss, Eastman said. "Accident investigators will be following up today."

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.

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