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Student pilot okay after hard landing in Land O'Lakes

LAND O'LAKES — Ray David looked outside his Pasco Trails home Tuesday morning to find damaged mailboxes, a few flattened saplings and a single-engine Cirrus plane sitting in the road.

"I've never seen anything like this happen," said David, 66, who has lived in the neighborhood about a decade.

Authorities say a 23-year-old student pilot made the hard landing, without injury, about 10 a.m. after a Global Positioning System error led him off course. The pilot, whose name was not released, was flying from Sanford to Pilot Country, the small airfield west of the Pasco Trails equestrian community, near State Road 52 and U.S. 41. The pilot told authorities he followed his GPS to what he thought was the landing strip.

It was actually Citation Road.

One of the plane's wings was damaged, but no one was hurt. Records show the plane belongs to Boston Aviation Leasing II LLC of Bedford, Mass.

Pasco Sheriff's Sgt. Leslie Strube, who responded to the scene after residents called about the plane, said the student pilot was remarkably calm after the hard landing.

"He's a lucky young man," Strube said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is handling the investigation of the incident. But the technology glitch didn't surprise people who had tried using such navigation devices themselves.

"If it's GPS," David said, "I'd believe it."

Student pilot okay after hard landing in Land O'Lakes 11/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 8:44pm]
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