Private plane goes nose down while taxiing on Aquinnah beach

Bystanders helped to right James Horan's plane, damaged when Mr. Horan attempted to take off from his portion of Lobsterville Beach. — Photo courtesy of MV Airport

James Horan, an Aquinnah beachfront homeowner and private pilot, decided to take advantage of beautiful weather and uncrowded conditions to land his plane on a section of private beach just west of Lobsterville Beach Saturday.

The sand proved to be his undoing.

As Mr. Horan prepared to take off Sunday in his single engine Cessna A185F, one of the plane’s tires sank into the sand and the plane planted its nose in the sand, damaging its propeller. The incident prompted a call from nearby fishermen of a plane that had crashed in the water upside down off Dogfish Bar.

Airport and Island public safety personnel responded, generating rumors of a crash. No one was injured in the incident.

The plane was dismantled and trucked away on a flatbed trailer Tuesday.

Mr. Horan, 59, a resident of Stoughton, owns a house at 17 Ox Cart Road. He and his friend Rene Robillard, 39, of South Easton, who piloted a separate plane outfitted with specialized tires, landed on his beach Saturday, according to Aquinnah police.

Mr. Horan’s friend took off in his Piper PA12 the same day without incident. When Mr. Horan began taxiing his plane in preparation for takeoff, a tire sank in the sand and the plane tipped. The plane was righted without damage.

On Sunday, after having mechanics check the plane, Mr. Horan went to move the plane up the beach. Once again, it nosed over, this time badly damaging its propeller.

Police said that the FAA does not prohibit take offs from private property.

Mr. Horan did not return two messages left at his company’s office.