PECOS, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Pilot, Adam Streeter, spoke to KMID Big 2 News Thursday morning about his harrowing experience after his engine failed forcing him to make an emergency landing on I-20 last night.
On a flight from Austin to El Paso Wednesday afternoon at around 10,300 feet, Adam realized his engine was failing on the Mooney M20K 231 plane he was piloting.
“In training, you’re taught to pull back to idle during an engine failure; but that wasn’t happening in this scenario,” he said.
His engine “blew up” releasing smoke and oil that completely obstructed the view from his windshield. Streeter was now relying on his side window views and his communication with the Pecos Air Traffic Control. He was instructed by them to land on I-20.
He said could see the concrete median from his side window and he realized that beneath him was a semi tractor trailer and a dually. He knew that the people that were behind him could see him approaching; but worried the semi and the dually might not know that he was above them. He could also see that he was approaching an overpass and that he would need to land immediately to avoid hitting the overpass.
His said his descent took around 7 minutes. And, as the small plane was making its landing, Streeter thought about how it might be going up in flames soon. He knew he had to land quickly; but he was concerned about strategically landing so that he would avoid the vehicles that didn’t realize that he was above them.
Fortunately, for everyone, he was skilled enough to make the landing without injury to himself or anyone else. However, the plane did stop traffic on I-20 for about 2 hours with traffic backed up for a few miles. Local law enforcement were able to divert traffic into the far left lane and traffic began to roll past his downed plane.
Thursday morning, Streeter said he was able to see that his engine had completely “come apart”. Regardless of his stressful landing, he said he still feels that flying is the safest mode of transportation. He told KMID that he was going to take some time to “decompress”; but that he would be back up in the air soon.