PHOTOS: Pilot's life saved by crashing plane into tree
ONLY flying enthusiast Danny Fowler really knows how he managed to walk away relatively unscathed after his self-built light plane plummeted to the ground from 2000 feet.
The 72-year-old drew on years of experience when the plane he spent six years building experienced sudden engine failure while flying over Coominya on June 30.
For the first time since the crash, Mr Fowler yesterday recounted the period of time from when the engine failed to when it ended up in a heap at the base of a huge gum tree which, ironically, probably saved him from a far worse fate.
"I was flying along quite nicely at 2000 feet (609m)when I suddenly heard a bang," Mr Fowler said.
"The engine revs dropped and the trees all suddenly seemed much closer."
It was at this point that Mr Fowler called on the advice of flying mate Vernon Grayson, who was up in the air in another plane in the same vicinity.
"He told me the engine just went pop, pop, and he's only getting 2000 rpm. I was very concerned," Mr Grayson said.
"I was up in my plane so I started looking for him."
Pretty soon Mr Grayson received a mobile telephone call from a bruised and battered pilot.
"I couldn't hear very well but I could make out that it was Danny on the other end," Mr Grayson said.
"I yelled out for him just to say yes yes yes if you are OK, and I heard him say yes."
Mr Fowler was somehow able to remain calm enough to steer his plane into a tree, taking the majority of the impact on the opposite side to where he was seated. The plane then nosedived into the ground, leaving the pilot with a badly cut lip, bloody nose, and a sore hip. Lowood paramedics Peter Brown and Kayla Yarrow could barely believe Mr Fowler's luck.
"We were quite surprised. We saw the wreckage of the plane as we pulled up and weren't given any indication as to how serious the injuries were," Mr Brown said.
Mr Fowler paid tribute to the paramedics, who treated his injuries while they awaited the arrival of an emergency chopper. Mr Fowler was discharged from hospital the following day.
He's thanking his lucky stars his dear wife Cynthia decided not to fly with him that day.
Cynthia occasionally flies alongside her husband, and would have been sitting on the side of the plane that bore the brunt of the impact with the tree.
The cause of the engine failure was traced back to the formation of ice around the fuel injectors, which choked air flow into the four-cylinder Suzuki car engine.