Experimental plane makes hard landing at Gillespie Field - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Experimental plane makes hard landing at Gillespie Field

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EL CAJON (CNS) - A private pilot was able to make a safe emergency landing at Gillespie Field Thursday after the experimental small plane he was flying began leaking fuel and the cockpit filled with smoke.

The man was flying over eastern San Diego County shortly before 11 a.m. when he noticed the mechanical problem aboard his small aircraft, said Monica Zech, a spokeswoman for the general-aviation airport in northern El Cajon.

Despite the smoke wafting into his cabin, the pilot and sole occupant successfully landed the light plane, though its nose tipped forward and struck the runway, sparking a small engine fire, according to Zech. He then was able to jump out and get clear of the burning aircraft.

Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames, she said.

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