By Bill Sniffin, Cowboy State Daily
Pastor Danny Bauer of Lander can say he’s a little more familiar with the phrase “with God as my co-pilot” after successfully landing his plane on a state highway after the engine blew up on Friday.
“So, so thankful for Gods protection!!!” Bauer said on his Facebook page. “In over 30 years of flying, my only engine-out emergency landing at night. All is well. As my friend Tom Mullins says, they make ’em new every day! Mooney N118RC it was a good run!”
According to local Lander flying authorities, Bauer was flying alone from Rawlins to Lander when he noticed the oil pressure on the engine of his Mooney single-engine plane was acting erratically.
Concerned, Bauer took his plane to 12,000 feet reasoning that if the engine quit, he would have enough time to glide safely to a forced landing.
Upon reaching that altitude, the engine quit and then caught fire.
Bauer radioed the Salt Lake City airport to give them his coordinates and to line-up firetrucks at the Lander airport.
He didn’t make it that far.
Rawlins is 118 miles from Lander. He made it to within 13 miles of his hometown before having to set the plane down on a long stretch of U.S. Highway 287 east of the Rawlins Junction known as “Onion Flats.”
Cowboy State Daily was told that the landing was “OK, but not perfect”.
Some delineator posts were taken out, as was one larger highway sign, before the plane stopped.
Bauer and friends later towed the plane to Lander where it sits in a lot behind the Blue Ridge Apartments.