Central Whidbey airplane trip ends in crash

Mike Hawley with the Island County Sheriff
Mike Hawley with the Island County Sheriff's Office investigates a plane crash in Central Whidbey Monday afternoon.
— image credit: Jenny Manning / Whidbey News-Times

Willie Jenkins arrived home Monday afternoon to the sight of emergency vehicles, flashing lights and a flipped-over plane in her front yard.

"I saw the ambulance and fire engine and thought, 'Oh crap,'" Willie said.

Despite warning her husband, Jack, that today was not a good day to fly his homebuilt airplane from Oak Harbor airport to their home on the west side of Crockett Lake, he went ahead and took the trip.

"It was just intuition," Willie said of her unease. As it turns out, Willie had a reason to worry.

Jack crashed his plane Monday afternoon on their grassy home airstrip next to their Central Whidbey home. Miraculously, he lived to tell about it. In fact, Jack immediately got out of the plane and tried to flip it over, Willie said.

Jack was unavailable for comment immediately following the incident as he was busy on the phone with the FAA.

The amount of damage is unknown, Willie said.

"He won't be flying for awhile," she said while pointing to the missing front wheel and bent tail.

According to Willie, "It bounced, got airborne and the nose hit right about the hill."

From that point, the back end of the plane slowly reared and flipped over, said Darrell Jacobsen, site manager for the nearby Fort Casey Conference Center.

"It almost didn't flip," he said. "It was really slow motion."

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