By Mike Carrels
Phoenix Staff Writer
An experimental airplane made an emergency landing on U.S. 69 late Thursday afternoon.
Duncan Gravis was flying a Challenger II with a passenger from Davis Field to Haskell when the engine stopped, forcing the landing northbound on U.S. 69, just north of Peak Boulevard just after 6:10 p.m. He landed on the west lane before coming to rest in the center median across from an Oklahoma Department of Transportation office. There were no injuries and no traffic accidents.
Gravis said he was flying round-trip from Haskell. He had landed at Davis Field and was on his way back to Haskell when the engine stopped.
“I heard a loud bang from the engine, and I tried to restart it several times,” Gravis said. “I was gently gliding down and looking for a place to land. I was hoping for that field over there, but I didn’t have enough elevation, so I did an emergency landing on the highway.”
Gravis said the weather was clear and still, and he’ll only fly in such conditions.
“Everything was beautiful, and then the engine just stopped,” he said. “I’m happy to have no injuries.”
The model plane he was flying is known for its gliding ability, Gravis said.
“That enabled me to try and restart it at least half a dozen times,” he said. “The engine was just purring right along and everything was beautiful, and the engine just stopped.”
The plane sustained very minor damage. A bar on the left wing was slightly dented after Gravis said he hit a traffic sign as he was making his way to the median.
“It was a beautiful day and not a very good conclusion to it,” Gravis said.
Reach Mike Carrels at (918) 684-2922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.