Sunday, July 22, 2012

Europa XS Monowheel, N951EU: Plane lands on freeway in Santee, California

SANTEE — A small homemade plane made an emergency landing on state Route 67 in Santee Saturday, California Highway Patrol officials said. No one was injured. 

A highway patrol officer making a traffic stop noticed the Europa plane flying low and attempting to land on the northbound side of the road near the Woodside Avenue exit. The officer initiated a traffic break on the freeway and the plane safely landed and came to a stop at the Riverford Road off-ramp about 10 a.m., said CHP Officer Brian Pennings.

Pennings said the pilot reported power issues after taking off from Gillespie Field and was attempting to return to the airfield when the plane's engine locked up.

"Fortunately the officer was in the perfect position," Pennings said. "Both the pilot and officer did outstanding."

The pilot, 79-year-old El Cajon resident Wayne Oehler, told officers he began building the plane in 2000. He said he finished it in 2009 and has flown it for the last few years.

Pennings said the plane was on the northbound off-ramp at Riverford as of 11 a.m., but was expected to be towed away shortly. The off-ramp was closed but freeway lanes remained open, he said.

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SANTEE, Calif. -- Authorities say no one was injured after a small plane made an emergency landing on a freeway in San Diego County.

 The California Highway Patrol said one of its officers was making a traffic stop Saturday morning and noticed the homemade plane attempting to land on state route 67 in Santee. 

The officer initiated a traffic break to clear the road for the plane to land. CHP Officer Brian Pennings said the pilot reported having engine problems shortly after taking off from Gillespie Field near El Cajon. He told CHP officers that he was trying to turn back to the airfield when the engine locked up. 

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1 comment:

  1. Wayne was my hangar neighbor of mine until he wold the Europa and moved back to Arkansas. That supercharged Subaru with the PSRU was bad news from the start. Pulling so much power out of such a small engine wasn't something very wise for aircraft application and what an incredibly complicated installation. Radiators, hoses, pumps, PSRU, supercharger, all of that to support what underneath it all is a tiny little engine.

    Waybe did a beautiful job on all aspects of the airplane, including the engine. After this forced landing he replaced the Subaru with a Rotax 912 - which is what the plane was designed to use.

    Wayne sold it to someone up near Victorville - I want to say Apple Valley?

    Wayne sure did a nice job of putting that plane down on the freeway without a scratch. He was 79 and was flying very little when this happened - in fact, the plane only had about 5 hours on it when the engine blew up. As I recall, a drive belt slipped a cog and started bending valves and instantly making lots of metal. Too sad after so many years of work he got to fly it so little but after he put the new engine in he decided to sell it and move back to Lake of the Ozarks. Hope you're doing well Wayne if you ever come across this . . .