Pilot’S Angel Was On The Ground

Good Samaritan spots telltale smoke, provides life-saving warning


A good Samaritan saved a pilot’s tail several weeks ago when he noticed smoke trailing out of the plane’s engine and called for help.

Russ Hustead said he was out training a student in a Sky King Soaring motorglider Sept. 19. Hustead has been giving lessons on engine-powered gliders in Payson for nine years and never had any problems.

The gliders work like a traditional plane, with an engine used for takeoffs, but once in the air, the motor is cut, and the plane glides through the air.

On this particular day, Hustead and a student were practicing takeoffs and landings. After taking off once again, Hustead received a call from the Payson airport operator who reported that Steve Klavuhn, a walker in the area, had seen smoke coming from the plane.

Hustead checked his gauges, but everything appeared normal.

Not wanting to risk anything, Hustead cut the engine and quickly landed the plane without power.

Once on the ground, Hustead checked the engine and realized smoke was indeed coming from the brand new engine from a burnt oil line.

“We did not know we were in danger,” Hustead said. “He basically saved our tail and it was a brand new engine with only 25 hours on it.”


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