Dawson Lampp was 2,000 feet up in a six-seater Cessna 210 aircraft heading for Columbus Metropolitan Airport when the plane ran out of gas Monday morning.
"I was about two miles from the airport," said the Dublin man. "I had it in sight. This airplane don't glide too good. I saw houses in front of me and knew I wouldn't make the airport. I said I'll take my chances with the road. I just did clear the pine trees.
"I tried to make several attempts in Dublin and Eastman, but it was too foggy," he said. "It was foggy from here to the coast."
About 10:04 a.m. Lampp set the plane down on Warm Springs Road, traveling about 100 miles per hour, he said. The plane rolled from the intersection with Cunningham Road for about a mile, coming to a stop in the northbound lanes of the Warm Springs Connector, just past Miller Road. Fortunately, no cars were in his path.
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The only damage to the plane was a dent near the end of the right wing, received when the plane clipped a sign he couldn't avoid in the median. Firefighters from Station 11 helped push the plane off the road into a large median between Warm Springs Road and the Warm Springs Connector. Lampp said he would let insurance agents decide how best to move the plane to the airport.
He was on a return flight to Dublin after a business trip to Lynchburg, Va., having left there at 5:45 a.m. Monday. After trying to land at airports at Dublin and Eastman that were fogged in, he said he decided to come to Columbus. "It's foggy from here to the coast," he said. The high-performance, single-engine aircraft is owned by J.P. Price Lumber Co.
When the plane began plummeting, Lampp said he thought, 'My training better pay off.' He had been flying for 10 years and has about 1,000 hours flying experience in this plane.
Columbus Police Lt. Henry Ackerman told Lampp he was a lucky man, that most of the planes they see come down that miss airports end up crashing.
Ackerman suggested the wings be taken off and the plane be put on a flat-bed truck to move it to the airport, but Lampp asked if it could be towed there without removing the wings. He finally decided to let insurance agents decide how best to move it.
Federal Aviation Administration officials also are expected in Columbus later to investigate the incident.
Lampp said this is the first time he has had to set down a plane short of a runway, an experience he hopes he doesn't repeat.
Lt. Brian Dorriety with Columbus Fire & Emergency Medical Services said Station 11 was alerted quickly after the plane landed. About 10 firefighters raced from the station, which is in sight of the intersection where the plane stopped, to help push it out of the road.
Lampp said he is amazed that he didn't encounter highway traffic on such a busy road.