GSMNP: Aircraft went down west of Clingmans Dome; GA pilot uninjured


CALDERWOOD, Tenn. (WATE) – A 47-year-old pilot from Georgia parachuted away from a small plane crash Friday that occurred in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and local agencies rescued him soon after.

According to a GSMNP spokesperson, park rangers responded to a report of a small plane crash approximately six miles west of Clingmans Dome at approximately 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 10.

The single occupant of the plane, the pilot, had deployed the plane’s parachute north of Silers Bald and Buckeye Gap.

A Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter unit located the pilot at 1:06 p.m.

The Tennessee Army National Guard extricated him from the site using a hoist operation at approximately 2:00 p.m. and flew him to the Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport located in Sevierville.

Park officials say the pilot did not sustain significant injuries and departed the airport under his own care.

Park Rangers received additional assistance from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and Sevier County Emergency Management Agency during the initial stage of the search operation.

Park officials are continuing work with the Federal Aviation Administration to complete an accident investigation.


The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed an aircraft went down in a field outside of Knoxville around 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park said Friday there had been efforts to rescue the pilot.

The crash actually occurred approximately 6 miles west of Clingmans Dome, according to GSMNP spokesperson Dana Soehn. 

“We are working with the TN Highway Patrol and TN Army National Guard to coordinate the rescue of the pilot. At this time, it does not appear that he has any life-threatening injuries,” Soehn said Friday afternoon.

An FAA spokesperson said earlier Friday the light-sport aircraft crashed into a field about 20 miles south of McGhee-Tyson Airport. Initial reports said the pilot was the only person on board and is uninjured.

Blount County Sheriff’s Office said there was a report of a small plane crash in the Calderwood area before 11 a.m. Friday.

“We received a report of a possible plane crash in the western end of the park. Park Rangers are currently coordinating emergency response with outside agency partners. This is a developing situation and I don’t have any additional information available at this time.”

Dana Soehn, GSMNP Management Assistant/Public Affairs

The FAA is investigating the crash.

This is a developing story and we’ll continue to update the details as they become available.

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