A pilot is recovering tonight after being involved in a plane crash early this morning at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport.
Randall "Randy" Ray, 49, is recovering and the people who know him are relieved he wasn't seriously hurt.
The student-pilot was apparently practicing touch-and-go maneuvers when the 1981 Cessna 172P he was piloting veered off the runway and crashed into a culvert.
"It appears the wheels were on the ground, that's what I can tell you right now," said Murfreesboro Aviation owner Jim Gardner. "He had landed or was in the process of taking off. I'm not sure until I talk to him."
Gardner's company leases the plane, which is used for training student-pilots. Ray was scheduled to get his pilot's license in 14 days.
"He had roughly 40 hours in an airplane, of that roughly 10-15 were solo," said Gardner.
Gardner is thankful his student survived with only a broken leg and a dislocated hip. Ray was taken by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Former FAA inspector Jerald Richey lives about 300 feet from the runway. He and his wife were eating breakfast when the plane wrecked.
"We heard a very unusual noise," said Richey. "It sounded like tires squealing on the runway, or something like that. You never heard that on that end because we are on the approach of the runway."
Larry Williams is also a former FAA inspector. He said even though the plane is a mangled mess, he's seen much worse.
"This is a minor accident, but major damage," said Williams. "The airplane looks destroyed and it appears to be a serious injury."
Airport officials and fellow pilots are thankful this was just a horrible accident and Ray will recover and hopefully fly another day.
"It's just a blessing all around, and the staff of Murfreesboro Aviation's hearts are with Randy," said Gardner.
The plane involved in the crash had undergone its 100-hour inspection yesterday. It was flown 1.2 hours prior to Ray taking the controls this morning.
The plane is a 141 aircraft, which means the FAA inspects it quite often.
The plane is owned by Skylark Flight Training out of Connecticut. According to the FAA database, the registration had expired on the aircraft in September.
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Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:37:11 GMT
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