Single-Engine Plane Crashes In Powell Garden, Multiple Plants Killed

The pilot of a single-engine plane near Powell, Wyoming, lost power after takeoff Friday, but recovered to execute a crash landing in a backyard garden. Sadly, many plants were killed in the crash.

Andrew Rossi

May 11, 20243 min read

Nobody was hurt when this single-engine aircraft lost power after takeoff and had to crash-land near Powell on Friday.
Nobody was hurt when this single-engine aircraft lost power after takeoff and had to crash-land near Powell on Friday. (Park County Sheriff's Office)

A small 500-pound airplane had to make an emergency landing in a backyard in Powell at 10:51 a.m. Friday after losing power on takeoff from a nearby property. The only casualties were the aircraft and a freshly planted garden.

A pilot and passenger were onboard the fixed-wing, single-engine 1990 KITFOX aircraft when it lost power mid-flight, the Park County Sheriff’s Office reports. The pilot safely maneuvered the aircraft into a successful emergency landing in the largest open area in the field of view.

Several agencies responded to the scene of the hard landing, including the sheriff’s office, Park County Fire District 2, Powell EMS and Wyoming State Troopers. By the time they arrived, there wasn’t much for them to do.

“There were no injuries,” said Monte McClain, public information officer with the Park County Sheriff’s Office. “They were both out of the airplane and walking around when EMS, fire and deputies got there.”

The plane was damaged, and its owner has already made arrangements for the light aircraft to be uprooted and hauled away. The garden looked like what one would expect in the aftermath of an emergency landing.

“That was the only casualty,” McClain said.

Plane Panic Protocol

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. Based on the initial investigation, McClain said the aircraft didn’t have very far to fall once it lost power.

“It sounds like the engine died shortly after takeoff and was not very high off the ground,” he said. “In an emergency landing, you pick the largest open area you can. From the sounds of it, he did.”

McClain said plane crashes are rare in northwest Wyoming, but first responders don’t usually see such an uneventful aftermath from emergency landings.

“They don't normally end up with a good ending where people walk away,” he said. “This was probably the best outcome you could hope for, except for the freshly planted garden they landed in.”

In An Emergency Landing, Land

Tim Lippincott is an experienced pilot who has firsthand experience with emergency landings. He wasn’t the pilot of the KITFOX.

In 2015, he was forced to land a 1963 Mooney M20C on U.S. Highway 20 north of Thermopolis while he was flying with his 5-year-old grandson. Neither was hurt.

From his perspective, Lippincott said there’s only one thing pilots need to be concerned about in an emergency landing — landing.

“It’s pretty rare, but any aircraft can do this,” he said. “It’s the same thing as driving your car. You should always be aware that it can happen.”

Lippincott said experienced pilots should always look for areas where they could safely land an aircraft in an emergency. The first sign of trouble is when it gets “real quiet.”

“You should always look for spots to put an airplane if it goes wacky,” he said. “And when it does, just do your best.”

Andrew Rossi can be reached at

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Andrew Rossi

Features Reporter