Monday, October 22, 2018

Piper PA-32R-300 Lance, N2920Q: Incident occurred October 21, 2018 in Marion County, Indiana -and- Incident occurred February 24, 2008 in Greenfield, Indiana

Pilot Greg Mahler said too many vehicles were on Zionsville Road to try land the aircraft there.

“My heart is still racing," the pilot's wife, Marianne Mahler, said.

As high winds buffeted the area Saturday, Marianne Mahler waited anxiously as her husband, Greg, flew from Washington, D.C., to Indianapolis in his six-seat Piper Lance with two friends. But Greg, an experienced flight instructor, landed safely after deciding it would be better to set down at Metropolitan Airport in Fishers than at Eagle Creek Airpark, where he usually stores his plane.

So on Sunday — when the wind had died down and the sky was a cloudless blue — Marianne Mahler had no worries when she dropped her husband at the Fishers airport to make for the 10-minute or so solo flight to the plane’s home base.

Then, as she waited at the Eagle Creek airport for him to arrive, a call came.

I’m OK. I just missed the runway by a bit... I just crashed the plane.

Actually, Greg had landed more than 8 miles short of the airpark, skidding through a mall parking lot on the northwest side and avoiding injury to anyone, including himself.

About an hour after the crash on Sunday afternoon, Marianne Mahler tried to still her nerves as her husband walked calmly near his plane and called students to tell them what had happened.

“My heart is still racing. He’s OK,” she said. “I’m shocked that something like this would happen. … He doesn’t have a scratch on him.”

Under other circumstances, Marianne might have been in the plane with her husband. But the plan had called for her to meet him at Eagle Creek and then take him back to their northwest-side home.

The short flight started out uneventful. But about halfway through, the plane’s engine suddenly shut off. Mahler tried unsuccessfully to restart it. He went through all of the emergency procedures. A less experienced pilot might have looked through a checklist, but not Mahler.

“I didn’t have to pull the book because I knew it from memory,” said Mahler, who has been a pilot for 30 years and a light instructor for 20.      

Realizing he would have to execute a crash landing, Mahler looked down for the best site. Zionsville Road looked good at first, but then he decided there were too many cars.

He looked down again and noticed the Traders Point Shopping Center with its relatively empty parking lot and came in for the landing.

At Traders Mill Grill on the east side of the shopping center, some of the staff noticed the plane come in low, too low, over the building. Owner Ron Watson, a former pilot, later said he heard nothing as the plane glided past. Watson realized the engine had died.

“I was expecting the worst,” he said and jumped into his car to follow the plane.

But he did not realize how skilled a pilot Mahler is. Mahler hit the ground, slid through the parking lot, avoided cars and light poles, and landed in a grassy bank near Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“Let’s get this stopped safely,” he said to himself, as he did just that.

Watson ran over and helped him find his glasses in the plane.

On Sunday as emergency personnel cordoned off Mahler’s plane as they waited for it to be towed to Eagle Creek Airpark, Mahler wondered what had gone wrong with the engine, which he said he had just bought last winter.

But the seasoned instructor said he would not have done anything different in hindsight.

“This is the first time I’ve had an offsite landing,” he said. “I teach emergency landings. … I found a safe place to land away from people, buildings, and safely. This is what an offsite landing is meant to be.”     

Original article can be found here ➤

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A pilot was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods on the northwest side.

Just after 2:45 p.m., authorities were dispatched to the store on the report of an aircraft malfunction.

The pilot, identified Greg Mahler, was was forced to make an emergency landing and landed in a ditch near the parking lot and I-465.

He was uninjured as a result of the crash and told us he had engine failure near Eagle Creek.

Mahler originally planned to land near Zionsville Rd. but the said there were too many cars. Then, he saw the ditch near Dick’s Sporting Goods and executed a successful emergency landing.

Mahler said he was gliding the entire way.

The FAA released the following statement after the emergency landing:

“The pilot of a Piper PA32 aircraft reported engine issues while on the way to Indianapolis Metro Airport. The plane landed in a shopping center parking lot about 4 miles west of the airport. No injuries were reported. No information on damages to vehicles on the ground. The FAA will be on the scene to begin an investigation.

Original article can be found here ➤

INDIANAPOLIS – A small aircraft crashed near the parking lot of a northwest Indianapolis Dick’s Sporting Goods Sunday afternoon.

Emergency responders were called around 2:45 p.m to the 6000 block of West 86th Street on the report of an aircraft emergency.

Greg Mahler was flying from an airport in Hamilton County to Eagle Creek Airpark in Indianapolis when his single-engine plane failed at 1,800 feet. 

Mahler said he began looking for a place to land because he didn't think he was going to make it to the Eagle Creek Airpark. The plane stopped when he crashed into a tree near the parking lot.

No injuries were reported.

Original article ➤

February 24th, 2008: Piper PA-32R-300 Lance, N2920Q

Force-landed on Interstate 70 east of Indianapolis, Indiana.

 February 24th, 2008: Piper PA-32R-300 Lance, N2920Q

The pilot of a troubled single-engine plane safely landed on Interstate 70 in Hancock County on February 24, 2008.

The plane, which developed engine trouble, came down about two miles east of the Greenfield exit, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported.

Motorists were dumbfounded as the six-seater plane made its approach and after it landed. Many stopped alongside the road to snap pictures and take video.

The plane, piloted by Babar Suleman, of Plainfield, had taken off from Eagle Creek Airpark and was at about 7,000 feet when the engine stopped working.

With no power, Suleman said he couldn't possibly make it to the nearest airport, Mount Comfort, which was about seven miles away.

"I saw two trucks and there were two cars. I let the trucks go and I squeezed in between the two cars," Suleman said. "The rear car, he saw what was happening and he was smart enough he hit the brakes. The guy in front, he was just surprised by what was going on."

Suleman, who has been a pilot for four years, said keeping a calm head was critical to landing safely.

"After I touched down, the one (car) in front came pretty close. I could see the guy's face in the rear view mirror," Suleman said. "I was scared after I got out of the plane. My knees shook really bad."

After a mechanic checked out the craft and determined that ice had caused the temporary engine problem, the Federal Aviation Administration cleared it to take off, again using I-70 as a runway.

Police stopped traffic in both directions for about 15 minutes as the plane took to the skies again.

Suleman credited excellent training at Greenwood and Eagle Creek airports for allowing him to keep calm during the ordeal.

Original article ➤