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Published August 16 2011

Pilot in Fargo AirSho mishap heads SDSU aviation program

FARGO – An airplane that was damaged when it landed without its wheels down Sunday at the Fargo AirSho was identified Monday as a Chinese-made trainer flown by a retired Air Force colonel and program leader in the aviation program at South Dakota State University.

When asked whether it was pilot error or equipment malfunction that caused the mishap, pilot Jeffrey Boulware of Brookings, S.D., told The Forum: “I don’t really know yet. I’ve got to talk to the adjusters and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).”

Boulware said all three air-powered landing gears under the Nanchang CJ-6 war bird were up when he landed. The olive-colored airplane skidded on its nose wheel and wing flap until it came to a stop, he said, adding the fuselage wasn’t damaged.

AirSho committee co-chairman Darrol Schroeder said the FAA will investigate the incident. He expected to speak with FAA officials Monday afternoon, he said.

The mishap delayed the start of the Blue Angels’ performance by about 30 minutes as crews worked to remove the damaged plane from the runaway.

The fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft was built in 1972, according to the FAA’s online registry. Boulware said he has owned the plane for four years.

According to SDSU’s website, Boulware is a program leader in the university’s aviation program. His teaching responsibilities include aviation safety. He holds a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Boulware was still in Fargo with the airplane Monday evening. He said he hoped to find a new propeller and other parts quickly so he could fly the airplane back to Brookings.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528