Flight Instructor Says Small Plane Crash Within Yakima City Limits "Highly Unlikely" - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Flight Instructor Says Small Plane Crash Within Yakima City Limits "Highly Unlikely"

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YAKIMA, Wa -  Everyday 50 to 60 small airplanes take off from McCallister Airfield in Yakima...  so could a plane crash like the one on Wednesday in Manhattan happen here?  A flight instructor from Noland-Decoto Flying Service says it's highly unlikely.

"In the event of an airplane emergency, they have ample place to land," says Tony Carbrey, a pilot of 12 years who works as a flight instructor.

Carbrey says planes take off and land away from Yakima's city limits and even if there is an engine failure, a pilot should have enough time to find a safe place to land the aircraft.

"It's at this point that the plane turns into a glider," says Carbrey.

He took us on a flight aboard a Cherokee Piper to demonstrate.  In just minutes, our plane is flying four thousand feet above Yakima.  Carbrey turns down the throttle to simulate an engine failure.  The plane glides without power for minutes.

"If you are up four or five thousand feet, you've got plenty of time to figure out what's going on," says Carbrey.

He checks his flight instruments and points to several safe areas to land nearby.  A few minutes later, our plane lands safely at McCallister Airfield. 

Carbrey says an accident like the one involving New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle is extremely rare, especially in a rural place like Yakima.

"It's not something that you hear a lot about," says Carbrey.

He says in the US, about 500 people die in plane crashes.  That includes commercial airlines.  50-thousand die in car accidents.