Wind was the apparent culprit for a Tempe pilot who lost control of a rented airplane, struck a pole and cartwheeled off the west end of the Payson runway Sunday afternoon.
Jonathan Kirkland, 25, was attempting to land a two-passenger Gulfstream plane at the Payson Airport at 1 p.m. when a strong gust of wind forced him to abort the landing, said Payson Police Chief Don Engler.
“He could not set down on the runway so he was going to take off again,” Engler said.
While taking off, one of the wings struck the windsock pole, which caused the aircraft to tumble off the west end of the runway, strike a fence and shear the left wing and engine off.
Kirkland, who had rented the airplane from Chandler was uninjured and refused medical treatment.
The passenger, Joseph Haas, 26, of Tempe had minor injuries and was treated at the scene and released.