Pilot makes emergency plane landing unharmed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pilot makes emergency plane landing unharmed


IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Relief washed over a Florida pilot on Wednesday, after he experienced a moment of sheer terror.

Ron Miller was flying from Grinnell to New York. The plane came down on First Avenue in Hickory Hill Park around noon, while several bystanders watched.

"It's pretty exciting all at once, because with a bi-wing like this, you don't have any time at all," said Miller. "It comes down quick; a lot of drag." He's been in a crash before. But this one, he thought, was going to be a bad one.

Witnesses feared the worst, when they heard the plane's engine sputtering.

"It kinda sounded like someone was revving up a motorcycle," said Jack Greeve, who was at a nearby produce stand. "It was cutting out pretty bad. You could hear it; it was really loud."

As he lost altitude, Miller searched for a clear spot. "I thought, 'I'm in Iowa, there's gotta be cornfields and stuff." But all he saw were hills and woods. He picked First Avenue because it has no power lines.

"I saw somebody walking, and I saw a van. To tell you the truth, that's the only two things I saw," recalled Miller, describing the descent as a blur. Seconds after hitting the ground, Miller was greeted by emergency crews and bystanders like Martha Lang, who was also at the produce stand at a nearby Hy-Vee.

"I introduced myself, told him that we'd seen him go over, and said a silent prayer for whomever was in it, and was very relieved to see him in good shape and on the ground safe," she told us. 

Miller says the plane is probably totaled. "If it hadn't been for the signs, I don't think I'd had any damage at all," said Miller.

But he's just happy nobody was hurt, and that he ended up in a friendly area. "The police were all the nice, the fire department was nice, the people were all nice. So, I ended up in a nice town."

Miller's plane was towed to the Iowa City Municipal Airport, where it will sit in a hangar until Thursday. That's when Federal Aviation Administration officials will conduct an investigation of the engine failure.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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