Thursday, August 16, 2001

Student pilot lands on I-275

'Perfect judgment' after only engine fails

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        ANDERSON TOWNSHIP — A pilot studying for his commerical license got a challenging pop quiz Wednesday afternoon — and passed with flying colors.

        No one was injured, but there were some anxious moments when a single-engine Cessna 150 lost power and pilot Alexander Rybarczyk landed it in the southbound lanes of I-275 near the New Richmond exit.

[photo] A single-engine plane made an emergency landing on I-275 Wednesday.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        Mr. Rybarczyk, 20, of Delhi Township, was about three miles from Lunken Airport when he had to make the emergency landing.

        “He had clearance to land and his engine stalled,” Anderson Township Fire Lt. Steve Ober said. “He did hit a road sign with the right side of his wing.”

        He landed about 1:22 p.m. Mr. Rybarczyk, who is training for a commercial pilot's license, was returning from Portsmouth, Ohio, alone in the two-seat plane.

        “He avoided (highway drivers) and they avoided him,” Hamilton County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Barnett said. “He did a hell of a job. It could have been a real tragedy.”

        Mr. Rybarczyk could not be reached for comment.

        The single-engine plane is owned by Franklin Aviation Academy, where Mr. Rybarczyk is a student. The academy is located at Lunken.

        Flight-school officials said pilots are trained to land with traffic if they have to put down on a highway.

        “He executed perfect judgment in this situation,” said Mark Morgan, president of Franklin Aviation Academy. “He assessed the situation and weighed his options. There was no point in time that I was ever worried about him.”

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