LAGO VISTA, Texas (KXAN) - John Rudd walked away with nothing more than a cut on the thumb after he crashed his ultralight plane while trying to make a landing at the Rusty Allen airport in Lago Vista on Monday morning.
And even the cut was not caused by the crash.
"I cut myself climbing out of the tree," said Rudd, 62.
Rudd said he was approaching the runway when a gust of wind forced his plane to drop about 10 feet and clip the tree line.
His plane was left hanging upside down in the trees, but Rudd said the damage is minimal.
"I will be up in about three weeks once I get a new propeller and windshield," he said.
Rudd was joking about the incident shortly after it happened.
"The trees are my friend," he laughed. "They catch you real well."
Rudd said he was only moving about 30 mph at the time. And this crash was not his first.
"I went down in a tree about two months ago," said Rudd who has been flying his ultralight plane for three years.
He spent the rest of the morning with a chainsaw, cutting his plane loose from the tree limbs before putting it on a trailer and taking it back to the hanger for repairs.
Rusty Allen Airport is owned by the city of Lago Vista.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, ultralights weighing less than 155 pounds are not considered aircraft and fall under the jurisdiction of law enforcement. The FAA refers to them as "vehicles."
The use of ultralights began in the 1970s when people started putting small engines on foot-launched hang gliders.
FAA definitions of an ultralight include:
- Used by a single occupant;
- Used for recreation or sport purposes only;
- Does not have any US or foreign airworthiness certificate;
- If unpowered, weighs less than 155 pounds;
- If powered, weighs less than 254 empty, excluding floats and safety devices;
- Has a fuel capacity not to exceed 5 US gallons;
- Is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated airspeed at full power, level flight;
- Has a power-off stall speed which does not exceed 24 knots calibrated airspeed.
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