MIAMI (CBS4)- A single engine banner plane made an emergency landing at a golf course in Northeast Miami-Dade Saturday afternoon when the pilot said her plane started to shake.
The pilot, Annette Simon, said she was on her way back to the airport after flying a banner over South Beach when the yellow Piper Pawnee PA 25 plane began to shake.
Simon said knew that there was ice on the plane’s carburetor before circling the Greynolds Park Golf Course at 17530 W Dixie Highway and decided it was best to land the plane on the course near the 9th hole.
“I knew there was a problem when I was flying over the golf course,” she said. “There was a stuttering noise and I knew I had to put the plane down. I circled and looked for the best spot and ended up coming down near the 9th runway. I won’t forget the time it was 3:30 (p.m.). I just wanted to make sure I could find a safe place and I wanted to make sure no one was on the green.”
Simon told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she ejected her banner for Magic City Casino that was attached to the plane about four or five block before she made it to the golf course.
Hugh Bruder, Battalion Chief with the Miami-Dade Fire Department, said she averted what could have been deadly.
“I think what stands out the most about this is the outstanding job the pilot did putting the plane down in this fashion,” Bruder said. ” There could have been a lot of damage to properties but that didn’t happen.”
Witness Dan Cubis said Simon did a great job.
“I looked up at the sky after hearing the engine of the plane stuttering and I knew the plane was in trouble,” he said. “She circled a few times and put it down perfectly. It was a perfect landing.”
Witness Richard Merrill told D’Oench that “We saw the plane coming in from the west and we knew there was going to be an emergency landing. She made a perfect landing.”
Simon said she was “flattered that witnesses who saw this said it was a perfect landing. She added, “I did my best to make sure no one got hurt.”
After examination, the pilot was able to safely take off at 5:45 p.m.
The plane was built in 1966. Simon said she has been with the company, Aerial Banner Inc for about a year and a half and has logged more than 1,000 hours.
The company’s owner Bob Benyo said he was glad no one was hurt.
““I’m proud of what she did,” he said. ‘She kept her nerve, landed it perfectly and no one got hurt.”
“This is what pilots are trained for,” said Benyo. “She was trained to stay calm and relay information. We should commend all pilots who do this.”
The company, which has been in the business for 17 years and has 32 planes, said some of his pilots have had to set down their planes because of gas problems, but this is the first time a pilot has had an engine failure that lead to an emergency landing.
Benyo said when ice forms on the carburetor, also known as carb ice, it can be fatal.
“Carb ice can occur when you climb from low to high altitude with a heavy load,” said Benyo. “And then we pilots come down to a lower altitude, they don’t have as much as they need for it clear up.”
Simon told D’Oench she was not traumatized by what happened. She said she plans to fly again on Sunday.