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Pilot Of Small Plane Makes Second Emergency Landing On Sunrise Highway In One Week

Frank Fierro Speaks Of Anxious Moments Hearing 'Dead Silence' From Engine

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EAST MORICHES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The pilot of a small plane made an emergency landing on Sunrise Highway on Friday — the second time he’s done so in a week.

Just before 1 p.m., the single-engine ultralight Challenger plane, which had just taken off from Lufker/Spadaro Airport in East Moriches, experienced engine trouble, police said.

The pilot, Frank Fierro of Lake Ronkonkoma, was able to land the plane on the eastbound side of Sunrise Highway near Exit 62, police said. After landing, police said Fierro moved the aircraft to the right shoulder.

Pilot Of Small Plane Makes Second Emergency Landing On Sunrise Highway In One Week

plane1 Pilot Of Small Plane Makes Second Emergency Landing On Sunrise Highway In One Week
Sophia Hall reports

“My wife is going to kill me,” the 75-year-old Fierro told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

The incident marked the second time in a week that Fierro was forced to make an emergency landing on the Long Island highway, police said.

On July 10, Fierro landed on the median between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Sunrise Highway near Exit 61, after the plane experienced engine trouble just after takeoff. No one was hurt in that incident.

Police said Friday was the first time Fierro had taken the plane out since the incident on July 10.

Plane lands on Sunrise Highway on July 10, 2014. (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

Plane lands on Sunrise Highway on July 10, 2014. (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

Fierro told McLogan he thought the plane had been fixed, but it started sputtering and then he heard “dead silence” from the engine.

“That’s the biggest fear,” Fierro said, referring to trying to land the plane without hurting other people. “(I was) hoping to land on median, but there was a truck out there with some guy sitting in there. Last minute, I swung quick one to right and a quick one to the left and I settled down. It wasn’t one of my better landings.”

Suffolk County Highway Patrol and 7th Precinct officers again assisted airport personnel in towing the broken plane back to the airfield. No one was injured.

Police told McLogan that they had never heard of anything like that before and that they believe it was not an intentional act.

Fierro said he thinks the engine problem might have been caused by a fuse that may be too small for the aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating.

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