Airshow pilot Rob Holland is safe after his custom MXS-RH aircraft went down late Sunday evening. Rob was flying from NAS Kingsville, TX to Shreveport, LA after performing at the Wings Over South Texas airshow on the weekend. While in cruise at 11,500 feet, he lost his engine and oil covered his windshield. He flew the aircraft to an abandoned airport, where he hit debris on the runway that totaled the aircraft.
Rob is a four-time, consecutive, World 4-minute Freestyle Champion as well as a seven-time, consecutive, US National Aerobatic Champion. He performs at airshows with a solo aerobatic routine as well as with other aerobatic pilots such as Bill Stein and Matt Chapman. He is known for his highly original maneuvers.
We are very glad to hear Rob is ok, and look forward to seeing him at an airshow soon!
Here is the full post from Rob’s Facebook page:
For all those who know or don’t know, I thought I would fill you in about the events of the past few days.
First to get it out of the way, I’m 100% fine.
That said, On March 25th I took off from NAS Kingsville, Texas at about 4:30pm for a cross-country flight to Shreveport, Louisiana. About 15 minutes into the flight, level at 11,500 ft., I had a catastrophic engine failure and lost all engine power. I will not speculate as to the cause of the failure and will let the FAA and NTSB finish their investigation.
The Canopy was immediately covered with oil and I had zero forward visibility.
I quickly determined that an off-field landing was not the best option given the terrain. Also, using the parachute was also not a good option due to very high wind speed at the surface. There was one “airport” within gliding distance and I immediately aimed for it. Thank you to MGL Avionics for such an awesome EFIS system, which helped tremendously for my situational awareness.
There was a low scattered-to-broken cloud layer around the vicinity of my landing site which obstructed my view of the runway (I still could only see directly out of the side of the plane due to the oil on the canopy). I glided through an opening in the clouds using GPS as a reference for the location of the airport.
It turns out what I thought was a private airstrip was actually an abandoned airport that was about 30 ft. wide and only 1,650 ft. long (interesting that it is still listed in the FAA Database as an airport). When I finally got low enough so that the clouds no longer obstructed my view of the runway, I was at 700 ft. and committed to making a downwind landing because of my position.
I lined up on the runway as best I could, still having zero forward visibility. I touched down on the runway at about 90 kts. (normal speed for this plane), but with a 20+ knot tailwind bringing my forward speed to 110kts.
What I couldn’t see due to the oil on my canopy was a large piece of someone’s roof on the runway that had blown there by Hurricane Harvey. After about 200 ft. of landing roll, the left main landing gear struck that piece of debris ripping the landing gear completely off the plane. The plane skidded on its belly down the runway, departing to the side of the runway, coming to rest about 30 ft. off the right side of the runway. The plane remained upright and straight the entire time.
I assessed that I was physically ok, turned off the fuel, the mags, and all electrical power, and then departed the plane.
I have to throw out another HUGE thank you to Hooker Harness and BoneHead Composites for an AMAZING SAFETY BELT SYSTEM and FANTASTIC HELMET, both of which undoubtedly prevented me from suffering any injuries, it was a pretty violent ride when the gear came off.
Lastly I’d like to express my gratitude to MX Aircraft Company. The airframe did an amazing job of absorbing impact energy helping to protect me from injury. Unfortunately the damage to the airplane is too extensive to repair. I am already working with MX Aircraft and there will be a new plane in the future, updates and details will follow.
The next week or so will be very busy for me moving forward with as little (hopefully none) disruption to my schedule as possible.
There are too many people to name here but thank you to my family, friends, sponsors and supporters for all your help, well wishes, and thoughts.