A man from Waukee who was flying from Denver to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, went down in a heavy winter storm this morning. William Chase was carrying packages for United Parcel Service when an engine on the Beechcraft twin he was flying iced up and quit. He landing the plane safely in a wheat field not far from the small airport near Pine Bluffs, in southeastern Wyoming barely five miles from the Nebraska border.
Dispatcher Rene Baker says the storm was already bad when Pine Bluffs emergency dispatchers learned about the downed plane. Somebody driving by apparently saw the plane land in the wheat field south of town this (Wednesday) morning, she says. “That’s where he’s at,” Baker says. “Probably where he’s going to be for a little bit.”
Baker says the man was on a contract flight for U-P-S when he had to make the emergency landing. “He’s been here at the town hall, oh probably most of the morning,” she reports, “making contact and calling people and trying to get his cargo unloaded.” The pilot wasn’t hurt in the emergency landing, nor was his plane…but it’s loaded with express mail for U-P-S. He’s unlikely to get a motor carrier to take it off his hands, as Interstate-80 in that area is closed for more than 100 miles in Nebraska because of a major winter storm.
The Interstate’s also closed eastbound from Cheyenne, Wyoming to the Nebraska state line, so the dispatcher says, “I think he’s stuck here.” The local airport manager says the pilot did a good job landing with no injury or damage to the plane, its cargo, or anything on the ground. The pilot’s found a motel room in Pine Bluffs for the night. A report today says it’s the busiest day of the year for U-P-S, but the packages on the Beechcraft D-18 won’t be going anywhere for a while.