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Mon, March 25

Chino Valley man's vintage plane returns to air

Dan Lawler has had his 1939 Luscombe 8A repaired from the October 24, 2015, accident at the Prescott Airport that was caused by a defective tail wheel. The repairs took about four months to complete by mechanic Ron Danielson.
Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Dan Lawler has had his 1939 Luscombe 8A repaired from the October 24, 2015, accident at the Prescott Airport that was caused by a defective tail wheel. The repairs took about four months to complete by mechanic Ron Danielson.

On Oct. 24, 2015, Dan Lawler’s vintage airplane crashed at Prescott’s Ernest A. Love Field. It hurt his pride more than it did the plane.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Lawler had to have the single-engine, two-passenger 1939 Luscombe Model 8a fixed over the past year – but it’s now flying again.

On that fall day one year ago, Lawler, who has over 11,000 hours of total flight time, had just purchased the airplane in Taos, New Mexico.

The Chino Valley-based pilot made one stop in Gallup, New Mexico, for fuel and then returned to Prescott airport where the incident occurred, he said.

“When we landed at Prescott, the airplane bounced … I made a bad landing, and the tail wheel snapped around backwards,” he said this week.

“I guess the biggest single emotion I had was embarrassment. I thought I had lost control of the plane.”

Actually, with the tail wheel sitting backwards, when Lawler would attempt to steer left, it would go right, for example. Not knowing that, the plane was further damaged.

The two people aboard – Lawler and his then-31-year-old son, Brian – were not injured in the incident, according to the Prescott Fire Department.

Lawler, who just recently flew the plane to Sedona, said: “It’s been fun having the old bird back in the air.”

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