By Greg Geary

A single-engine RV-6 aircraft flipped upside down and crash landed at the Searcy Municipal Airport on Monday night, according to airport Manager Roger Pearson.

“From appearances, it looks as though there was an attempted landing on Runway 1 with a subsequent attempt to do a go-around, and in the process of doing the go-around, they struck a lighting instrument, called a PAPI [Precision Approach Path Indicator], which caused the airplane to turn upside down and it crashed.”

The pilot and co-pilot were taken to Unity Health-White County Medical Center with minor injuries, he said. The crash site, Pearson said, was still intact “and it won’t be hard to clean up.” Pearson said the PAPI lighting system will probably be inoperative for six months until it gets fixed or replaced.

Pearson added Tuesday afternoon that the U.S. Flight Standards District Office in Little Rock would come to the airport to do an investigation.

He said he was told by the owner that the pilot of the aircraft when it crashed around 7 p.m. was Steve Yingling of Judsonia while Jason Hanna was in the second seat.

A family member of Yingling’s said the motor on the plane wasn’t running right and Yingling was riding with Hanna to kind of check it out. Yingling reportedly said he didn’t remember anything other than getting in the airplane. Hanna owns the plane, according to the source, who preferred to remain anonymous, and Yingling thought Hanna was OK after the crash.

Yingling is a mechanic and pilot, the source said, and he noted that Hanna is too. The source said that Yingling was told that he got out of the plane on his own and walked to the ambulance.