Plane makes emergency landing on golf course in Hermann Park

January 26, 2010 10:26:08 AM PST
A pilot gave new meaning to 'abnormal ground conditions' at Hermann Park's golf course last night. He was forced to land his plane on the 11th hole when it ran out of fuel. If the plane didn't say it all, the sign on the course sure did. 'Hole #11 closed,' because there's a Cessna parked there.

"It's something amazing," said golfer Chiang Wu. "First time I've seen anything like this."

Instead of 18 holes, golfers at Hermann Park's golf course had just 17. But most are stopping at the hole anyway, just to look.

"Is that a good omen or a bad omen? I bet it's a good one," said golfer B.J. Gill.

Pilot Brendan Ford landed the Cessna on the course last night because he ran out of gas.

"I'm just very happy this morning that it worked out safely on the ground out here," said Ford. "No one was hurt. I was able to find a safe place to put it down."

Several officers responded, including an ambulance. There were no injuries, not even a scratch on the Cessna.

"All we know is that he ran out of fuel at 2,000 feet and made a safe landing. An emergency landing, but safe," said Officer John Guerra of the Houston Police Department.

Ford says a faulty fuel gauge is to blame. He was hoping to touch down at Hobby Airport, but had to settle for the 11th hole. After discussing distance and obstacles on the course, Ford decided the safest measure would be to remove the plane's wings and tow it away.

The course staff employees have gotten a kick out of the whole thing. It's a situation they will not soon forget.

"It's something completely different than what we've ever had and it's pretty exciting," said course superintendent Joe Turner.

"We got a lot of excitement here today," added employee Vincent Williams.

Ford says the onboard instrumentation suggested to him he had another hour and a half left of fuel to get him just 30 minutes to Columbus, Texas, where he had been heading from Lafayette, Louisiana. That didn't happen so he had to make the emergency landing.

The plane was pulled to the course parking lot, where it was being towed away. The FAA is still investigating. Ford could be issued a citation for running out of fuel.