This was in the AOPA ebrief daily newsletter:
http://www.reporternews.com/news/2009/j ... days-work/
Teen pilot makes emergency landing
By Celinda Emison (Contact)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Reporter-News Photo by Celinda Emison Pete Michaud, owner of Brownwood Flying Service, works on taking off the wings of the Piper Tomahawk plane that 17-year-old Megan Daley landed in a field Monday. Also pictured is mechanic Dean Crawford.
Photo contributed Megan Daley, 17 and a licensed pilot, safely landed a Piper Tomahawk in a field near U.S. Highway 183 Monday. Her friend, Ethan Hill, 17, who was going to get his license, manned the radio during the emergency. The two teens from Georgetown walked away unharmed.
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Top flight pilot training and a cool head made for an amazing emergency landing when Megan Daley guided the two-seater airplane she was flying into a grassy Mills County field Monday afternoon.
Daley is 17.
A licensed pilot, she was flying a Piper Tomahawk from Georgetown to the Brownwood Regional Airport so her friend, Ethan Hill, 17, could take his pilot's license test when the engine died in midair.
Split-second thinking, rather than panic, was required as Daley watched the oil pressure go to nothing and the propeller slow down.
Suddenly the plane began dropping.
"I felt like freaking out, but because of my training I knew I had to land the plane and we could freak out later," she said.
It took only two minutes for the plane to completely lose power and to rapidly drop from the air. In those two minutes, Daley was going down her emergency checklist, and Hill was manning the radio and sending out emergency signals.
In mere seconds, she spotted a grassy field off U.S. Highway 183 in Mills County and went in for a landing.
"I didn't have much time to glide the plane, it dropped so fast," she said.
The plane landed on a bed of grass about four feet high that could have cushioned the impact.
"We rolled about a hundred feet and stopped," Daley said.
The two got out of the plane and marveled that they had survived.
"We just said did this really happen? Are we still alive?," Daley said.
In retrospect, Daley said it was the training she received from Flight Instructor Beth Jenkins at Pilot's Choice Aviation in Georgetown that helped her safely land the plane.
"We had done that exact scenario in training, and I had to look for a safe place to land," Daley said.
The two wandered around in the country for about an hour before they were located by law enforcement.
Early Police Chief David Mercer and helicopter pilot David Furry located the pair walking in a field off U.S. Highway 183.
She called her dad, Dennis Daley, a former Naval aviator, after she landed.
First she said "Dad, I'm OK," to which her father said "Great, what did you do?"
Then he listened with amazement and fear as his daughter recounted her experience.
As a fellow pilot, Dennis Daley said he was very proud.
But as her dad, he was extremely thankful she landed the plane safely.
"She kept her wits about her," he said. "I don't know if I would have even been able to do that."
Daley and Hill are part of an aviation technology program at Georgetown High School in which students can study and eventually receive their pilot's license, no sooner than the age of 17. Daley, who just graduated from Georgetown High, earned her pilot's license three months ago. Hill, who will be a senior, will be getting his license soon.
Despite the accident, Daley said she will keep on flying.
Daley said she would like to fly the Space Shuttle or be a commercial airline pilot. She plans to attend flight instructor school in the coming year so she can teach pilots when she starts Texas A&M in 2010.
She plans to major in aerospace engineering.
Pete Michaud, a pilot instructor for the Federal Aviation Administration, was waiting for the teens at Brownwood Flying Service when he heard the plane had gone down. He promptly flew over to find them and located the plane.
"It was an absolute textbook landing," said Michaud, who has been training pilots for more than 35 years.
Michaud started the plane up, but decided not to try to fly it.
"I don't know what happened to it, but I wasn't too sure about taking it up," Michaud said.
He and two of his mechanics took the wings off the plane. It will be hauled out of the field today.
"No matter what, those children did an excellent job," Michaud said.
Off Field Landing of the Week
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