Pilot Michael McGrady made a quick decision to emergency land his plane into trees at Dairy Hall playing fields, Newtownards, County Down on Thursday at about 17:00 BST.
His decision was considered heroic as he avoided landing in open fields in County Down where children were playing."He could easily have landed that aircraft undamaged but he avoided all the children," said John Hughes, chairman of the Ulster Flying Club.
Thankfully Mr.McGrady , who is chief flying instructor for the Ulster Flying Club, and his passenger were not seriously injured. They were both taken to hospital where the pilot was treated for shock, and his passenger suffered a sprained wrist.
Mr. Hughes said the plane’s engine cut out on the approach to the club landing strip.The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has begun an investigation.
He also told BBC N.Ireland’s Good Morning Ulster- "The pilot was our chief flying instructor and he is also a commercial pilot. This was about the skills of the man. If you saw the short length of field he put that aircraft down in, you would appreciate the skills he demonstrated yesterday afternoon," and continued "Without the gentleman's ability, we could have been in a spot of bother.It was about the skill of the pilot and the strength of the aircraft. Some would call it luck but you make your own luck. Fortunately, our chief flying instructor was flying the aircraft and that is the level of skill that we had,"
The aircraft was dismantled on Thursday evening and its wreckage will be examined by certified engineers later on Friday.
UTV news also reported on the incident , quoting a statement from The Ulster flying club that read-"Michael was at the controls on approach to runway 15 and experienced a loss of power. With amazing skill he managed to get the aircraft into the playing fields next to the police station." and continued -"Best wishes to Michael and his student for a speedy recovery. Thanks must also go to the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service and the PSNI for their assistance in the aftermath of the incident and recovery of the aircraft."
Here’s a clip -
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