A pair of student pilots from the Daytona Beach Ultimate Air Academy will not be getting gold stars next to their names after a botched landing Monday afternoon at the George W. Lewis Airstrip in Cedar Key.
John Ghanen, 19, has only had his pilot`s license for about 18 months and told authorities that he was flying the single engine plane that wound up in the marsh. However, witnesses on the scene said his "passenger", Tamir Ayoub, 21, was seen exiting the pilot`s side of the aircraft. Ayoub does not have a pilot`s license.
There is agreement that they were approaching the strip too fast and too high, so they aborted the first landing and circled around. The second attempt was not much better but they landed and both men applied the brakes upon landing. According to Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin, the left tire blew and they ran off the South West corner of the runway and into the marsh.
The men blame the accident on "faulty equipment" - both tires were deflated upon impact and the nose gear was torn off, according to Sandlin.
But damage is only part of the problems they face. Apparently, the pair had informed the plane`s owner that they were flying from Daytona Beach to Palatka but wound up in the marsh in Cedar Key and they had not filed a flight plan. The FAA is expected to investigate the accident and file a report.