Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Plane that landed at SIU farm was bound for Poplar Bluff

The pilot of the airplane that made an emergency landing just outside of Carbondale, Illinois on Friday was on his way home to Poplar Bluff.

Matt Hillis, who has had his pilot license for two years, was flying his Columbia 400 four-seater back from an Indianapolis Pacers game. He was at 10,000 feet and about 25 miles southwest of Carbondale when he starting losing power to his engine.

Hillis says he turned around to land at Carbondale’s airport when he completely lost power.

“I mean at that point, the only thing you can do is try to make it to the airport. And if you can’t, find the safest place to put it down as possible,” Hillis said.

Unable to find a road without any cars, Hillis had to touch down in the Southern Illinois University farm.

“The way that it was, the lay of the land was real hilly so I kind of bounced off a couple of hills before I came skidding to a stop,” the pilot said.

Hillis was uninjured in the landing, but his airplane is totaled. The Federal Aviation Administration is still conducting an investigation into the incident.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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