People near Lompoc’s River Bend Bike Park were in for a surprise on Wednesday afternoon when a small private plane made an emergency landing in the park after experiencing engine trouble, according to Samantha Scroggin, the city’s public information officer.
“It was a very soft landing, very controlled,” said Lompoc Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Terrones.
The pilot of the 1969 Cessna 172 was flying through wet weather six miles east of Lompoc when the engine stalled “for undetermined reasons” at more than 2,000 feet, according to Lompoc Police Department Sergeant Bryan Dillard. The pilot attempted to glide to the airport, Dillard said, but when it became clear the plane would not make it, he circled back around to land safely in the park. He had been mapping from the air and carried a commercial pilot certificate.
Emergency personnel were notified 30 minutes after the impromptu landing, and neither the single occupant in the plane nor anyone on the ground was reported injured. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been notified of the incident.