Jun 12, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff WriterOfficials say the crash of a crop duster plane at Riverton Regional Airport began with a malfunction of the aircraft's fuel control unit.
Riverton police Capt. Eric Murphy said the pilot, a Thermopolis resident, reported the malfunction forced him to cut the power to his engine to land, and he misjudged the distance to the runway.
At about 7:40 a.m. June 11, the airport's fire station was notified of the plane crash at the end of the runway.
Murphy said firefighters responded and observed a yellow, 1995 single fixed-wing Turbo-prop Ayres Model S2R-G6 crop duster.
"The pilot was not injured, and the plane was not on fire," Murphy said. "The plane's landing gear was completely collapsed, and the propeller blades were all bent."
The plane struck a Mouzer runway light that was destroyed.
Murphy said the pilot had planned to land at a farm on Hidden Valley Road near Riverton but deemed it unsafe because of how fast he was traveling when the malfunction happened.
"He was going 180 miles an hour and couldn't land on the dirt strip, so he went to the airport," Murphy said.
The Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration were notified of the crash.
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