The Federal Aviation Administration and the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office are issuing contradicting reports about an incident at Brookley Aeroplex today that resulted in damage to the office’s $340,000 plane.
According to a spokesperson for the FAA, preliminary information revealed that while landing on Runway 14 at Mobile Downtown Airport at 12:45 p.m. today, the aircraft’s right wing dragged on the runway and went into the grass.
Lori Myles, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office, said the plane actually sustained minor damage on a wingtip after it clipped a sign on the taxiway.
There were no injuries in the incident.
Myles said the flight was piloted by Rob Middleton, and the plane carried a copilot and two members of the Sheriff’s flotilla. Apparently, they were using the aircraft to search for a person who allegedly jumped off the 140-foot Cochrane Africatown Bridge July 27, an operation that has been ongoing.
Myles said the pilot immediately reported the damage to local officials and the FAA classified the damage as an “incident” and not an “accident.” The damage is limited to the plane’s wingtip, Myles said, but the plane will not be able to fly without repairs.
Sheriff Sam Cochran purchased the plane, a Beech Bonanza BE-36, in 2012 for $340,000 in what he said was seized drug money.