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The Daily Tar Heel

Officials Question Flying Club Actions

Pat Greenwell, a Flying Club board member, and her passenger, Richard Binkley, also a club member, made an emergency landing at the end of the runway after the engine of the single-engine plane Greenwell was flying stopped. The plane landed on UNC property, making it fall under University jurisdiction.

The landing occurred around 5:30 p.m.

UNC and emergency officials were not notified for another 2 1/2 hours.

"It took (Greenwell and Binkley) about 30 to 45 minutes to walk back to the airport," said Flying Club President Bill Sawyer. "They called me, and we went out to the scene and then we called the (Federal Aviation Administration) and UNC officials."

But Carolyn Elfland, the associate vice chancellor for auxiliary services, a position that oversees airport activities, rebuked Sawyer for delaying the call to University officials.

"If an accident occurs on University property, we expect that the employee on duty at the airport will immediately be notified," she wrote in a letter to Sawyer.

"If the incident occurs after hours and no employee is on duty, we expect Public Safety to be notified immediately."

"The situation (Thursday) night was inexcusable."

But Sawyer said the incident was downplayed by the club because it was just a landing and no injuries occurred.

"This is no big deal," he said.

"This is not a crash. It's never happened before."

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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