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Pilot unharmed after plane crash landing in west Pasco

Pilot Dennis Funnemark, 62, who made this emergency landing Monday on Strauber Memorial Highway when his aircraft lost power, escaped uninjured. “I am amazingly well,” he said.

DREW HARWELL | Times

Pilot Dennis Funnemark, 62, who made this emergency landing Monday on Strauber Memorial Highway when his aircraft lost power, escaped uninjured. “I am amazingly well,” he said.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Dennis Funnemark doesn't feel like a man who just survived a plane crash.

One of the wings of his small aircraft splintered apart as he made a hard emergency landing Monday evening, but Funnemark walked away with nary a scratch.

"I am amazingly well," he said Tuesday.

The 62-year-old Niceville man is retired from the Air Force and an owner of Team Tango, the experimental airplane company that made the kit.

"I guess it's a testimony to the strength of the airplane that the cockpit is completely intact and so am I," he said.

Funnemark was flying along the Pasco coastline about 6 p.m. Monday when his aircraft lost power. He hoped to touch down at the Clearwater Airpark until he realized it was too far. He decided instead to try landing on Strauber Memorial Highway, but he canceled his approach when he saw an oncoming car.

"I thought to myself, I can't ruin his day, too," Funnemark said.

He made a second landing attempt but clipped a tree on the way down, authorities said. His aircraft landed just off the highway, next to a canal that feeds into the Gulf of Mexico.

He was airlifted to Bayfront Medical Center to get checked out. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.

Funnemark chuckled Tuesday at reports that he received a minor head injury from the landing.

"That was from banging my head on the garage door two days ago," he said, laughing. As far as the crash landing, "I'm not even very stiff or sore."

Pilot unharmed after plane crash landing in west Pasco 06/08/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 8:23pm]
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