Questions After Emergency Aircraft Landing in Odessa Neighborhood 1/8/14
CBS 7 News
January 8, 2014
ODESSA-"I learned how to fly this about five days ago on YouTube, that’s about it,” said Cal Pietick, the man who flew the aircraft.
The ultralight plane landed in a field in Odessa early this evening after it ran out of gas. People say they've seen the same plane flying low over the neighborhood the past few days.
Pilots tell us you don't need a license to fly it and for this pilot, it was as easy as YouTube.
A scare in the sky near Schlemeyer Field just before 6:00 p.m. after this ultralight aircraft made an emergency landing in a field near 87th and Hollday. One little girl was playing just steps away.
"The plane was coming this way and he spun around then he came and landed and we heard a big whoosh,” said Rilee, a young girl who witnessed the landing. “The I ran to my grandmas and told her.”
“Were you scared?” “Very, I started crying,” she told CBS 7.
The man flying the ultralight said he does have a pilot's license, although DPS could not confirm that. According to Odessa pilots and The FAA, no license is needed to fly ultralights. The pilot told CBS 7 he put it together himself.
"How long you been flying?" "I learned how to fly this about five days ago on YouTube, that’s about it,” Pietick said, adding a thumbs up.
The FAA does have some rules for ultralights –that they carry no more than 5 gallons of fuel, weigh less than 254 pounds, not to fly over congested areas and not to put any persons in danger, among others.
"What did you tell the pilot?" "I told him I was scared and he said, ‘I’m sorry I scared you, I didn’t mean to’ and I said it was OK I just got really scared,” Eyewitness Rilee said.
The plane is mostly intact, a landing wheel lost to the jolt of the impact. A DPS officer said they did not think it hit anything on the way down.
“Will you fly again soon?” “As soon as I get that gear landing fixed,” Pietick said.
The FAA has been contacted and will investigate the incident; no tickets have yet been issued. It is unknown what charges or penalties, if any, this pilot could face. Pietick walked away from the landing with no injuries.