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Glad to Be Alive, Crash Survivor Says

November 18, 1986|Associated Press

CORONA — A defense industry salesman said Monday that he's lucky to be alive after a weekend collision between his small plane and an antique biplane over the Corona airport.

Steven Lund, 39, of Santa Ana, a marketing representative for Sperry Defense Systems, said he suffered a crushed heel and multiple cuts and bruises when his Globe Swift GC-1a and a Stearman biplane collided on landing approach Saturday.

He said the planes were 10 to 20 feet above the runway when the collision occurred.

Hartly Folstad, 53, of Altadena, the Stearman pilot, was uninjured, and Folstad's passenger, Charles McCormick, 23, of Laguna Hills was treated and released from Corona Community Hospital, but Lund remained hospitalized there Monday, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jeff Rich said.

"I'm very glad to be alive," Lund said in a telephone interview from his hospital bed. "I don't know many people who have survived midair collisions. They don't usually come out this way."

Rich said witnesses reported the biplane came down on top of the Swift, but Lund said his plane was actually above the biplane.

"First thing I knew was I felt a jolt, looked to the right and saw his prop disintegrating against my right wing, and I was flipped over," he said. "We were between 10 and 20 feet (above ground), just coming over the boundary fence."

Coincidentally, he said, he knows Folstad.

"He flies antique airplanes," he said. "I have met him through a mutual friend."

Folstad wasn't home Monday, according to a house painter who answered his telephone.

Lund said he was returning from a pleasure trip to Hemet when the collision occurred.

Rich said his investigation was incomplete Monday and that he hadn't interviewed the pilots or all the witnesses.

But he said the witnesses so far have "all been consistent in stating the Stearman appeared to come down on top of the Swift" about 25 feet above ground.

Both planes' approach speeds are normally in the range of 60 to 70 m.p.h., he said.

The Stearman, he said, "was used in the late '30s and all through the (World War II) years to train Army Air Corps pilots."

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