KNOXVILLE — After flying thousands of miles, a 1930 Laird biplane was forced to make an emergency landing when its engine failed.
Larry Howard of Spokane, Wash., was on his way to an antique field near Blakesburg when problems arose around 10:30 Thursday morning. He was just south of Des Moines, flying at 7,500 feet, at the time and tried to make it to the Knoxville Municipal Airport.
He was unable to make it. Within a mile of the airport, he was forced to take the plane down for an emergency landing on the eastbound lanes of Highway 92. He was not injured in the landing, the plane was not damaged, and there were no accidents involving automobiles on the highway.
Howard coasted in the plane for approximately one-quarter of a mile on the highway before it came to a stop. The plane was pushed off to the side of the road to minimize traffic interruption, while Howard met with first responders.
Responding agencies included the Marion County Sheriff's Office, Knoxville Fire/Rescue, Knoxville Police Department and the Iowa State Patrol. Dan Van Donselaar with the Knoxville Airport was also on scene, talking with Howard about a way to get the plane safely to the airport.
Howard said this was the first time this has happened to him. As he was making his landing, he was very concerned about those on the road and is very grateful that no one was injured. He apologized for leaving a scuff mark on the highway. Howard also wanted to thank all of the first responders who came to the scene.
Howard makes the trek to Blakesburg approximately every two years. Knoxville Police Chief Dan Losada said the Federal Aviation Administration and Iowa Department of Transportation have been contacted about the incident.