Weatherford Democrat

August 9, 2011

Millsap UFO

Plane lands on roadway in emergency

Christin Coyne
Weatherford Democrat

WEATHERFORD — Millsap residents got a taste of flying objects landing unexpectedly in the small town around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, when a pilot and his wife, coming from Roswell, N.M., made a forced landing in a small plane on Old Millsap Road just east of Fannin Street.

The pilot, Robert Wilson, of Roanoke, said an 18-inch piece of the propeller broke off the Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee shortly after he refueled at Mineral Wells Airport on their way to Grand Prairie.

The vibration and noise hit immediately causing confusion at first, Wilson said.

Losing part of the prop immediately throws the engine out of balance, shaking it apart, Wilson said.

“I had to pull the fuel supply,” Wilson said.

Without any power, Wilson guided the plane like a big glider and put it down westbound on Old Millsap Road.

“We just barely cleared the trees,” Wilson said. “[When] the road made a turn, it was a little bit of a hairy moment there.”

He struck a sign alongside the road, damaging a wing.

Though there was no traffic on the road initially, there were a few vehicles and their drivers who seemed astonished to see him shortly after he landed, Wilson said.

The Parker County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety and Millsap Volunteer Fire Department responded to help with traffic.

Escorted by the emergency vehicles, a red truck towed the plane, about as wide at the road it landed on, to the fire department.

He and his wife are doing OK, Wilson said.

“We were both pretty wired up on adrenaline,” Wilson said Monday. “Neither one of us slept last night.”

Wilson said he has been flying for about 30 years and hasn’t ever been in that kind of situation before.

“There’s a first time for everything,” Wilson said.