Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Incident occurred July 30, 2020 at Perkins Field Airport (U08), Overton, Clark County, Nevada

Will Montero, 17, of Las Vegas made an emergency landing at Perkins Field last week during his pilot’s license checkride.

There was a little bit of tension in the skies for a young operator of a small aircraft last week. The aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at Perkins Field Airport in Overton on Thursday morning, July 30th.

Seventeen-year-old Will Montero, of Las Vegas has spent the last year working on getting his pilot’s license. On Thursday, Montero was performing his checkride, the final ride-along exam in obtaining his license.

Will and his examiner, Shawn Mullin, took off from North Las Vegas airport that day in Will’s 1968 Cessna 172 Skyhawk. It was a beautiful, clear morning; a good day for a checkride. At least, so they thought.

The routine preflight inspection found everything to be in apparent good shape on the aircraft. So they got the plane into the air and headed to an area just east of the Valley of Fire to perform several maneuvers for the test.

With the aircraft at about 6,000 feet in altitude, and travelling at around 150 miles per hour, Montero was instructed to perform an emergency descent scenario as part of the exam. But just as he was beginning that scenario he got a surprise.

“We heard a pop sound and it all of a sudden got a little windy,” Montero recalled.

The windshield of the aircraft had suddenly shattered, showering shards of glass into the cockpit. Immediately, the plane began experiencing a lot of drag and requiring a lot of power to maintain altitude.

But Montero stayed calm. With guidance from Mullin he reduced the airspeed of the plane down to the most efficient glide. Then he headed for the nearest airport which, of course, was Perkins Field. There he routinely landed the airplane.

“He did a good job landing given the circumstances,” said Mullin.

Other than a few minor cuts from the glass, the two made it to the ground safely and uninjured.

Interestingly, this was Montero’s second attempt at passing the checkride. The first time was similarly ill-fated. His aircraft ran into engine trouble mid-flight on the previous test and was forced to do an emergency landing at Sky Ranch Airport in Sandy Valley, Nevada.

But Montero remains undaunted by these back-to-back misfortunes. He is still determined to pass his next checkride and remains eager to get his pilot’s license.

“We will just have to get it fixed and try again,” he said.

Montero plans to someday have a career as a commercial pilot. His father is an airline pilot for Southwest Airlines and Will wants to follow in those footsteps.



  1. Glass? No, it is plastic. Plastic shards can cut you, but Cessna does not use glass for 172 windshields.

    He must have had some serious speed going on in the emergency descent to collapse the windshield.

  2. ^^I doubt very seriously the check ride instructor would have allowed an overspeed, and I even more doubt this young man who clearly wants to get his first of many ratings wanted that either. More than likely there was an undetected window seal flaw or even crack that let go. This is a 52 year old aircraft as a reminder and no telling the installation quality of the plexiglass replacement(s) over those years.

    And if that is his aircraft at age 17, good on him! Wow.

  3. A veteran of in-flight emergencies for real and the kid is only 17 who has yet to get his PPL signed off - let that sink in for we old pilots who never had one!