Cessna lands on Highway 50

The pilot of a fixed-wing, single-engine airplane walked away unscathed after an emergency landing north of Delta on U.S. Highway 50 late Thursday morning.

The man, who was the plane’s only occupant, had taken off from Montrose Regional Airport and called into a police dispatch center just before 11:30 a.m. reporting that the engine was losing power and he was attempting to land it on the highway, according to Delta Police Department spokeswoman Jamie Head.

Dispatchers tried to get him to land at Blake Field in Delta, which is two to three miles away from the site of the crash.

“When you hear plane crash, you think this is going to be nasty,” Head said, adding that the plane didn’t appear to sustain much damage. “I’ve got to give kudos to the pilot for being able to keep control of his plane.”

Head said no vehicles were on the highway near the plane when it landed.

“The roadway cleared itself, or it may be the drivers paid attention,” she said.

The 2006 Cessna 182T is owned by the Colorado Flight Center, a flight school based at the Grand Junction Regional Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s airplane registry. The pilot’s name was not immediately available.

A message left at the Colorado Flight Center seeking more information about the incident was not returned Thursday.

Head said the pilot started his journey in Grand Junction, landed in Montrose and was headed back to Grand Junction when he reported engine trouble. The plane clipped some electrical lines before it landed on the roadway. It skidded into a ditch, got caught up on a fence and spun around, landing on the road’s east side. It came to a stop with its nose pointed north in the front yard of a home that was about 20 feet away. Witnesses saw the plane’s landing gear in the middle of the highway to the south of the crash.

Traffic on the four-lane road was reduced to two lanes as emergency personnel responded to the scene and electrical crews arrived to repair the downed wires.

Head said the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.



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