By Keith Gushard
VERNON TOWNSHIP —
Cher Charron’s prayers were answered as she looked out the window as her husband, Marc, was piloting the small single-engine plane.
“It’s a pretty sight to see a runway below you,” she said of Port Meadville Airport’s main runway after the couple had to make an unplanned landing at the airport just after noon Sunday. “I was praying.”
The Charrons were flying from Marion, Va., en route to Erie for a refueling stop before heading home to North Bay, Ontario, Canada, when Marc Charron noticed an engine problem just after noon.
“There was some vibration so we had to come down to look to see what might be wrong,” he said.
When the vibration started, Charron contacted the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control via radio. The FAA’s Youngstown Warren Regional Airport control tower near Youngstown, Ohio, sent him to Meadville.
“They said this was the closest airport for where we were at the time,” Charron said.
Vernon Central Volunteer Fire Department and Vernon Township Police Department were dispatched by the Crawford County 911 Center at 12:19 p.m. to standby at the airport, located four miles west of Meadville, as the plane made its approach and landing.
Charron was able to land the plane without any problems, but whether the cause of the problem was mechanical or something else remained a mystery Sunday afternoon.
“It might have been icing,” Charron said. “We were at 7,000 feet and it was 2 degrees (Celsius).”
Canada uses the Celsius temperature scale to measure air temperature while the U.S. uses the Fahrenheit scale to measure temperature. Pure water at sea-level air pressure freezes at 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Charron checked the engine Sunday afternoon and made several test flights, but the couple opted not to flight out. Charron was scheduled to have the plane evaluated today by an aviation mechanic.
The single-engine Beech model 36 was built in 1968, according to the official Canadian Civil Aircraft Register. It’s owned by Charron Aviation Limited of North Bay, according to the CCAR. North Bay is located approximately 430 miles north of Meadville and approximately 220 miles north of Toronto.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.