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Plane Missed Runway By 225 Feet In Rhinelander Crash, NTSB Report Says

Ben Meyer/WXPR

The pilot in a Mar. 5 airplane crash at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport missed the runway by 225 feet, according to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report.

The pilot thought he was lined up with the runway by using the runway edge lights for reference, the report said.

Instead, the plane landed on snow, dug in, flipped over, and seriously injured the pilot.

No one was on the cargo plane besides the pilot, a 45-year-old man, and no one else was hurt.

Credit Ben Meyer/WXPR
The airplane involved in the incident, as seen after its removal from near a runway at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport.

“The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation,” said the report.

Snow was falling and drifting in Rhinelander for parts of that morning, which the report acknowledged.  It did not specifically assign weather as a cause for the incident, instead saying its “defining event” was “wrong surface or wrong airport.”

The plane was arriving from Milwaukee.  It was a Cessna operated by Kingsford, Mich.-based CSA Air and under cargo contract with FedEx.

It came to rest at about 8:15 a.m. that morning between the airport’s longest runway and a taxiway.  The airport was immediately closed, and investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived at about noon.

Flights resumed in the early afternoon, after the FAA determined airport conditions played no role in the incident.

The report from the NTSB was solely an initial report.  Full reports can take a year or more to complete.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He now contributes occasionally to WXPR. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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