Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cessna 177 Cardinal, N30033: Incident occurred July 19, 2017 at Fond du Lac County Airport (KFLD), Wisconsin

FOND DU LAC - Disaster was diverted Wednesday night when an airplane in distress battled a storm to land safely at the Fond du Lac County Airport.

Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Capt. Ryan Waldschmidt said no one was injured and the Cessna 177 suffered no damage.

The pilot, 75-year-old Mark Thompson and his passenger, Mike Radisch, 54, had been en route from the state of Washington to the Dodge County Airport in Juneau when thunderstorms hit, they told deputies. The headwinds, more than 50 mph, caused the plane to burn fuel much faster than anticipated.

“With less than five gallons of fuel left, they attempted to land at the closest airport in Fond du Lac, however they had difficulty seeing the runway and controlling the aircraft with the rain and wind from the thunderstorm in the area at that time,” Waldschmidt said in a news release. “They circled the airport approximately five times attempting to land before safely being able to put the aircraft down.”

In addition to being low on fuel, they lost communications with air traffic control during the final stretch of their flight, but safely touched down about 9:45 p.m.,while sheriff's deputies, the Wisconsin State Patrol and a fire department crew stood by.

Airport Manager John Wehner said Fond du Lac County airport is unmanned after 7 p.m., so no one was on duty when the plane landed.

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