LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A homemade plane made an emergency landing about noon Thursday on McCarty Lane.
No one was injured, including the pilot, David Tibbo.
Tibbo says he didn't have enough momentum to return to Purdue University airport, where he took off sometime Thursday morning, or to clear the populated areas of Lafayette to land in a field.
Tibbo says he attempted a landing on Sagamore Parkway, but decided too many drivers were on the busy street. He turned the aircraft toward McCarty Lane, dodging power lines and cars before coming to a stop in front of Lafayette 7 movie theater.
Jamie Humbarger was on a walk when she saw the plane go down.
"We've got power lines and then a gap, and then power lines, so he had to just take it right down in between some of those power lines, which was also very impressive," she says.
Tibbo says the homemade, kit aircraft had lost electrical power, causing the battery to stop charging. The fuel pump then failed and caused the engine to lose power, he says.
Humbarger says the aircraft was completely silent as it came in for a landing.
"All the sudden, I look up and I thought it was a massive drone at first, and I took a second look and realized, Oh no, that's a small plane, and he controlled the landing," she says.
Lafayette Police Department was first called to the scene at 12:15 p.m. The scene was cleared at 12:55 p.m.
Tibbo says the plane will be disassembled and returned to his rented hangar, where he plans to diagnose and correct the electrical issues.
Tibbo is a graduate student studying aerospace propulsion. He is a private pilot unaffiliated with Purdue.