Cameron Man Familiar with Takeoff Problems from Downtown KC Airport

Cameron Man Familiar with Takeoff Problems from Downtown KC Airport

20 years ago he survived crash after engine failure at takeoff
(CAMERON, Mo.)  As veteran pilot John Cayton preps his plane for another takeoff, he's waiting for more news about Sunday's plane crash in Kansas City.  Almost 20 years ago, the Cameron man himself had a dicey takeoff from the same downtown airport.

  "After I took off, my engine started running rough," Cayton said. "I got up to about 300 ft or maybe more and then it finally quit. I know you can't get back to the airport when you have an engine failure on takeoff. The 180 degree turn you can't make it. So you have to control your flight and put it the best place you can."

It was October 22, 1993. Cayton remembers the day well. He knew after his engine failed his plane was coming down. The location of Kansas City's Wheeler Downtown Airport can sometimes leave few options for a landing.

"Traffic was right below me. I could see the cars and the trucks," Cayton said.  "I went to 2nd and Delaware, the antique warehouse. I went between a couple telephone polls and hit the building."

Unlike the crash over the weekend that killed two, Cayton  survived.

"You don't really have a lot of choices," Cayton said. "You just try to hang on and control it. When I hit the building it drove the engine back into my legs and my face hit the instrument panel. The plane was like an accordian. It collapsed into me."

Cayton suffered a broken pelvis, face lacerations and was in traction for seven weeks. He understands there are certain times of a flight where things can't go wrong.

"Take offs and landings are the most critical because you have low altitude," Cayton said. "You don't have a lot of choices if you fly at altitude, you can look around and glide to a highway or open field or something like that."

Cayton says being in a plane crash has never slowed down his desire to fly. He says when things go wrong, it's usually pilot error. He says all pilots need to make sure they go through their entire pre-flight checklists and ensure their planes are in good working order.
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