ST. JOSEPH — A pilot of a small airplane and his passenger walked away from a forced landing without injury Friday night.
Champaign County sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Shaw said about 7:45 p.m., pilot Michael Schumacher, 73, of Sidney, experienced a loss of power in the ultralight aircraft he was flying southwest of St. Joseph.
“They were out sightseeing and the plane, for some unknown reason, started having engine failure. He was going to set it down in a bean field. The way the sun was, because he was heading west, he didn’t see the electrical wires. He’s not sure what portion of the plane struck the wires but it hit and he went down,” Shaw said.
Schumacher and his passenger, whose name Shaw did not have, were “a little shook up” but had no injuries. Both men were out of the aircraft by the time Shaw arrived. He estimated the bean field they ended up in was near the intersection of county roads 1375 N and 2125 E, which is a couple miles south and slightly west of St. Joseph.
Shaw said the aircraft was a Quad City Challenger II CW, described as a high-wing ultralight with a tricycle gear. He said Schumacher and his friend had taken off from a private air strip and had been flying about a half hour when they were forced to land.
The small, two-seater airplane was light enough that Shaw, Deputy Tim Beckett, and a few others were able to carry it from the field to a trailer.
Shaw said the plane sustained “significant” damage and that Schumacher took it back to his home.
Shaw said he contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to report the accident.