A pilot who was taken to the hospital after crashing his small aircraft at the Tahlequah Municipal Airport April 30 has been identified.
The Tahlequah Fire Department was paged out to the call before at 7:25 a.m. The yellow, single-engine craft with blue striping is a crop duster that TFD Fire Chief Casey Baker described as a 1979 Air Tractor Inc AT-301.
Officials said Tyler Sherrick, 27, of Welch, was coming in from Skiatook and intended to land in Tahlequah to refuel. According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol report, the aircraft was landing when the front of the aircraft tipped forward, causing the left propeller to strike the runway.
“[The] aircraft departed runway to the west, aircraft nose and propeller became lodged in the grass, causing the aircraft to turn over landing on its top, facing northeast,” the report stated.
According to the OHP, Sherrick was transported to Northeastern Health System before he was airlifted to St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa, where he was admitted in fair condition with head and neck injuries.
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Whittmore said at the time that they were monitoring the fuel of the crashed aircraft for safety purposes. The Tahlequah Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, TFD, and OHP responded to the crash site. The FAA is still investigating.
According to Plane Crash Map, the same aircraft was involved in a crash in North Dakota, in 2010.
“The pilot was landing on a private grass strip that had not been used for several weeks, during which time the grass had grown ‘considerably,’” the report from 2010 stated. “Upon landing, the tall grass caught the left spray boom, which resulted in the airplane traveling off the side of the runway into a wheat field.”
The plane traveled 25 to 30 feet, and the right wing and empennage – an arrangement of stabilizing surfaces at the tail – were substantially damaged, according to the pilot of that first crash.