Local News

Pilot, grandson uninjured in Apex hard landing

Posted August 30, 2013

— A pilot and his 14-year-old grandson were not injured when their plane set down along an Apex highway Friday afternoon.

Bryan Henry Esterly, 73, was headed home from Fayetteville and landed too fast. Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. He ran long on the short, dirt runway, and the plane flipped. 

"Came in a little hot, said the plane would not stop," said Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

Esterly lives on Airpark Drive right outside Apex. The FAA allowed Esterly to move the plane and with the help of neighbors the plane was righted. 

"Unfortunate, but things happen sometimes," said Tim Royal, a neighbor of Esterly's. 

Rush-hour traffic along U.S. Highway 64 was stalled as drivers slowed down to take in the scene.

"Another 200 feet and he would have been right in the middle of 64, so that is scary," said Harrison. 

The FAA is investigating the crash.

Plane crashes near Apex Plane crashes near Apex





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  • jetset Aug 30, 2013

    How blessed they are to be alive.

  • stymieindurham Aug 30, 2013

    Glad they are OK. Bet the youngster will wooooo the girls with his stories of his airplane ride!!! The other guy's will have to take a back seat. Right now, "He's da man"!!!

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 30, 2013

    Wow! Blessed to hear they're ok.

    Those runways have been there longer than I've been here, and I've been here 35+ years. When I first moved here, that was all farmland, with maybe half a dozen more modern houses dotted along the way.

    Developers coming in should have considered that runway before they developed nearby, but because developers usually worship the dollar over people's safety, it's become a quagmire of elbow-to-elbow houses there, and I don't know how anyone can live that close to someone else.

    I like my country, even if I have to keep moving every 5-10 years to find it again.

  • charlesboyer Aug 30, 2013

    @common tater - that runway strip has been there for decades, and long before housing and shopping were nearby.

  • common tater Aug 30, 2013

    I've always wondered how they get by with those small runways near 64, surrounded by housing and shopping.

  • thinkin out loud Aug 30, 2013

    That's flippin crazy!

  • NCHighlander Aug 30, 2013

    What's that old saying about a good landing is any one that you can walk away from?

  • ncmickey Aug 30, 2013

    Its not a 'hard landing' when the plane is upside down. Thats a crash landing