Damaged plane makes emergency landing in Fairbanks after big mid-air drop

An image of a runway, a river and a road with a small mountain in the background.
Fairbanks International Airport and Airport Way. (Creative Commons photo by Travis S.)

A commercial plane carrying a pilot and eight passengers was damaged in flight on a scheduled run between Fairbanks and Huslia Monday. 

National Transportation Safety Board Alaska chief Clint Johnson called it a “significant event” and said the agency would investigate. 

“The airplane was level at 10,500 feet in cruise, and we understand that there was an upset — a significant drop in altitude,” Johnson said. “The pilot was able to regain control of the airplane and subsequently made an emergency landing back in Fairbanks. However, there was substantial damage to the airplane.” 

A social media post by a passenger said the Wright Air Service Cessna Caravan “twirled upside down twice,” and photos of the plane on the tarmac in Fairbanks show a bent aileron on the aircraft’s right wing.

A Fairbanks International Airport spokesperson said emergency response vehicles met the plane as a precaution, but it landed safely with no injuries.  

Wright Air Service declined an interview request but said they are happy that no one was hurt and with how their pilot handled the situation.  

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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