Seven-time U.S. national aerobatic champion Rob Holland had just leveled off at 11,500 feet on his flight home from the Wings Over South Texas airshow at the Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas when his single-seat MXS-RH aerobatic airplane experienced a catastrophic engine failure resulting in total loss of power.
Holland found the nearest airport in the database, which unfortunately turned out to be an abandoned field that was no longer maintained. With oil covering the canopy, Holland had no forward visibility and he hailed his MGL avionics system for helping him get to the ground. However, the lack of visibility put Holland in a tailwind situation during his landing and he was unable to see a large piece of roofing, which had been deposited on the runway during hurricane Harvey.
“After about 200 feet of landing roll, the left main landing gear struck that piece of debris ripping the landing gear completely off the plane,” Holland said in a statement on Facebook. “The plane skidded on its belly down the runway, departing to the side of the runway, coming to rest about 30 feet off the right side of the runway.” While Holland walked away from the ordeal unscathed, his aircraft was substantially damaged. Holland credited his Hooker safety belts, BoneHead Composites helmet and MX Aircraft for preventing any injuries.
The accident put the remainder of Holland’s airshow season, which includes 25 shows for this year, in question as he had no airplane to fly. Fortunately for Holland’s fans, he will not miss a beat. He has leased his previously owned two-seat MX2 airplane, which he will be able to fly for the remainder of the year. The MX2 is the same airplane Holland flew in the 2017 World Aerobatic Championships winning the gold medal in the four-minute freestyle and two silver medals. The airplane was quickly redecorated and you can see Holland fly this weekend at the Tuscaloosa Regional Airshow in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.