Dr. Ron Bannister says he was only following FAA code when he was practicing take-offs and landings at the Thomasville Airport Tuesday night.
"You have to do three take-offs and three landings if it's a tricycle gear airplane, like Bannister's was, and then you can carry passengers,” explains Thomasville Plant Manager Irv Nesmith.
But around 9:30 p.m., Bannister says he either misjudged how close he was to the ground or momentarily lost power during a landing, and crashed in a field.
"It sustained damage to the tail and the wing and the front nose section of the aircraft,” says Sgt. Rachelle Denmark of the Thomasville Police Department.
Dr. Bannister declined to talk to us on camera, but he says he escaped the crash with minor cuts and bruises. In fact, Wednesday afternoon he's back at work, treating his own patients.
"Being that it's a small, single-engine aircraft and it did crash and sustain the type of damage it did, I think he's a very lucky individual,” Denmark adds.
Airport employees say until the FAA finishes its investigation, the plane will be left where it came to rest near a cornfield next to the runway.
Airport employees believe the plane, a single-engine Mooney, is a total loss.