Small airplane makes emergency landing in NW Houston parking lot


by Lily Jang and Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 7:25 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 20 at 8:56 PM

Emergency landing

View larger map

HOUSTON — A small airplane made an emergency landing in the parking lot of a northwest Houston business early Friday.

There were no reports of injuries.

The Houston Fire Department was called to Tam International near Pinemont and Highway 290 just after 7 a.m.

“Looking out the window and saw him losing altitude, and when I first saw him, he was about roof line level and losing altitude. Starting to curve around the side of building,” Joy Stafford, a witness, said.

So close she could see the faces of a passenger and the pilot fighting to save his plane.

“He is way too low to be able to get back up especially with the angle he was going down at,” she said.

Views from Air 11 showed a small red airplane partially resting on its side. It appeared the pilot struck a grassy area and curb while coming in for an emergency landing in the parking lot.

The plane’s right wheel was damaged during the landing, but the pilot managed to miss cars parked nearby.

Officials said the pilot had a passenger as well—neither wanted to speak to the media.

“They’re very thankful to be uninjured and to be able to put that aircraft down without it flipping over, without injuring anyone else in the parking lot,” said HPD Officer Tray Riley. “They were just very thankful for that. You know, just amazed that they were able to put it down like that.”

The pilot told authorities the aircraft lost power just minutes after taking off from a small airfield near Cypress.

Investigators said the engine did fail. The cause of that failure is still under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

But HPD said the plane did have fuel, at least according to the gauge.