A pilot had to make an emergency landing at the Illinois Valley Regional Airport on Friday night without his sense of sight.
No, the pilot was not blind, but inconvenient circumstances left him flying in the dark.
Joseph Cipolla had taken off from the Dekalb Taylor Municipal Airport to practice flying. Cipolla was just signed off to fly his plane, a single-engine Piper Arrow, yesterday. The relatively inexperienced pilot has 60 hours of flight under his belt, so when his engine spit jet fuel over the windshield, he was left in a predicament.
“I was very disoriented,” he said. “I couldn’t see where I was going and I got lost.
“I had to figure out how much oil I had left and I had to find where the next airfield was.”
Cipolla had to rely on his instruments to find his way. He said he made sure he had enough altitude and after about 45 minutes made his way over Peru’s airspace where he made his landing at about 6 p.m.
Peru police deputy chief Bob Pyszka said Peru police and fire departments responded as a precautionary measure after the plane landed.
No one was injured during the landing.
“I made it. I’m alive and I’m here to talk about it,” Cipolla said. “I’m thankful for so many more things than I’m unthankful for right now.”