MOXEE, Wash. — A Yakima couple were uninjured Saturday afternoon when their Cessna 170A glided into a plowed field 16 miles east of Moxee.
Cole Reason reported that the engine had quit on the aircraft around 2:18 p.m., prompting the closure of a 2 1/2 -mile stretch of State Route 24 and an aerial search involving the U.S. Army and the Civil Air Patrol.
Reason, 36, was flying with his wife, Kathy, back to the Yakima Air Terminal when he reported engine trouble about 7 miles north of the highway, said Yakima County sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Gray.
Sheriff’s deputies, East Valley firefighters, and police from Union Gap, Moxee and the Washington State Patrol closed the highway between Beaudry Road and University Parkway so Reason could use it as an emergency landing strip. The closure was lifted 10 minutes later when the plane did not show up, Gray said.
An aircraft from the Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer pilot and an Army helicopter crew from the Yakima Training Center conducted an aerial search, Yakima Air Terminal Director Rob Peterson said.
Peterson said the helicopter crew spotted the aircraft sitting in a field on the north side of the highway, and firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and an airport crew went to the field.
Gray said the plane, which Federal Aviation Administration records show was built in 1951, was not damaged during the landing.
Among those who headed out to search was Mike Butterfield, Reason’s flight instructor from Yakima Aerosport. Butterfield, who got involved when he learned Reason was having trouble, said Reason told him the engine quit and that he glided to a landing in the field.
“Kathy was so proud of Cole for knowing what he was supposed to do,” Butterfield said.
Butterfield said he helped Reason secure the plane in the field, and the plan was to remove the engine Sunday, repair and replace it, and fly the plane back from the field.