A young Oregon pilot flying a plane back to Oregon, that he and his father had purchased from Wisconsin, was forced to fly around Iowa storm clouds, ran into low fuel issues and engine problems and made an emergency landing in Albia Saturday afternoon…on the Airport Road not the airport runway!
With dense cloud cover and an engine sputtering on and off, the pilot flew just over the top of a power line and under another, clipping the mail box of Wade and Lisa Bassett’s home on the west side of the road, coming to rest near the Jim and Eta Chapman home on the east side of the road.
There was more to the engine problem than just low fuel as the pilot would later find out. The Bassetts, a driver heading north into town, other neighbors and the Albia Police Department aided the pilot in driving the plane a few hundred yards to the entrance of the Albia Airport, taking down part of a fence to get the plane to a runway, retrieving 15 gallons of aviation fuel from the Ottumwa Airport and then getting him to the Indian Hills Inn for the night.
On Sunday, he made some test runs before taking off to the Chariton Airport and indicators showed a lack of fuel pressure that might have been causing the plane’s engine to sputter out. Chapman, who is a pilot himself, suggested that if the pilot was determined to get the plane back in the air, to fly to Knoxville instead of Chariton where they had fuel and a certified airplane mechanic.
He promised to communicate back to his new found Albia friends about his safe arrival. Chapman’s advice was good. The airplane mechanic was able to uncover a dirt-clogged filter that was preventing a free flow of fuel to the engine. A quick repair and the pilot was westbound, stopping off in Nebraska for another night before heading to Oregon, where he landed safely.