UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled the Saturday afternoon plane crash in Gladewater as mechanical failure.
Jon McClandon, the plane's owner, was not flying the plane at the time of the crash, and tells us the pilot did everything right in the circumstance.
Trees had to be cut down to move the single-engine plane back to the Gladewater Airport.
Jon McClandon has several planes there and was flying at the time of the crash, but in a different plane 125 miles away. He says his heart sank when he heard the incident over his radio. All he could do was hope for the best.
"He did real well. You have an engine out and you have to fly it all the way to the ground. You can either stall it or fly it into the trees and hope for the best. He did a really good job. You can't complain about that. I'm glad everybody is all right," Jon said.
Pilot John Barryhill kept the 1971 Cessna 150's wings level and didn't turn. Jon McClandon explained the plane glides farther if the pilot doesn't turn or pull up. He says he would have flown it the same way if he lost power.
Jon added, "You can fly it the best you can and you have to keep the air speed up a certain amount of speed to keep it in the air and that's the air and that's the only thing you can do. Once you turn you lose your airspeed so once your wings are level and you get pointed into a direction you don't have much alternative."
McClandon says if Barryhill would have cleared the trees he probably would have made the airport. The pilot walked away from the crash and his teenage passenger had a few stitches in his ear and was released from the hospital.
"He's a good example of a great pilot," McClandon added.
John Barryhill has been flying for four years. The FAA says they found no evidence of pilot error.