Taken from The Canadian Press today:
Pilot lands safely in Ireland after transatlantic flight with empty tank
SHANNON, Ireland (CP) - A pilot flying a light aircraft from Labrador landed safely in Ireland late Friday, just seconds before the plane ran out of fuel and sputtered to a halt.
Michael Mulford of the Royal Air Force rescue squad in Kinloss, Scotland, said the landing at Shannon International Airport was being regarded as “a great miracle story at the end of 2004,” as well as a feat of airmanship. “He must have judged it right down to the last turn of the propellor,” he said, noting that the right fuel tank had been leaking during the transatlantic trip.
Caught in heavy rain and snow showers which caused icing on control surfaces, the pilot was forced to descend from 3,900 metres to 1,500 metres during his journey.
Mulford said the pilot, the only person onboard the Cirrus SR22, started experiencing fuel problems halfway through his flight across the Atlantic.
Earlier in the evening, the rescue co-ordination centre was preparing for a possible crash in the Atlantic ocean off Ireland and the aircraft was described as being “in the ultimate of difficult circumstances.”
A Nimrod search and rescue aircraft, equipped for a sea rescue, followed the troubled plane into Shannon International Airport.
A spokesman for the airport said after the landing the exhausted man had come off the aircraft and been taken for a hotel to rest.
“He was sweating. It’s only natural coming across like that,” said Paul Phelan.
A spokesman at the agency that represents Cirrus in the United Kingdom said he wasn’t sure of the identity of the pilot, or his nationality.
Nick Tarratt also said the aircraft was a “brand new airplane” made in Duluth, Minn., being ferried from the United States to the Netherlands.
Â© The Canadian Press, 2004