22-Year-Old Pilot Makes Emergency Landing on Downtown Street

Jan 5, 2012 2:30pm

A 22-year-old pilot who hit a power line, knocked over a street sign and had to dodge a car while landing her stricken plane on the street of a Houston suburb is getting compliments for her steely performance.

“The one thing that I would say is that I’m looking forward to flying with her,” said Lt. Col. Bob Beeley with the Texas Civil Air Patrol. “She is an excellent pilot. She did a good job. She did what she was trained to do.”

Sarah Chantal Rovner was piloting a Civil Air Patrol-owned Cessna 172 jet from West Houston Airport to Lone Star Executive Airport in nearby Conroe, Texas, on Tuesday when she reported losing aircraft power.

Rovner, of Houston, at first thought she would be able to glide the plane the final six miles to her destination but, instead had to make an emergency landing on East Davis Street in Conroe, ABC News affiliate KTRK reported.

With guidance from a Federal Aviation Administration controller at the airport, Rovner, a second lieutenant in the patrol’s Houston-based Thunderbird Composite Squadron, navigated the plane down with no injuries to herself or anyone on the ground.

The plane hit a power line during the landing, and knocked down a sign while turning onto a side street.  Rovner lost a wing while avoiding an oncoming car,   KTRK reports.

The emergency landing happened around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday while Rovner was on a training mission with the patrol, a unit of the U.S. Air Force that performs search and rescue missions.

CAP officials told KTRK Rovner is a volunteer with the patrol who obtained her pilot license three months ago and has less than 100 hours of flying time.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board have opened an investigation into why the plane lost power.

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