Veteran pilot makes emergency landing short of airport


Experimental aircraft builder Jerry Coussens crash landed his home-built plane Saturday morning in a grassy farmfield near Eldridge.

The veteran pilot from Davenport said the engine started sputtering about seven miles north of the Davenport municipal airport. He switched fuel tanks, but still lost power.

“As I tried different things to nurse it back to the airport we continued to lose altitude,” he posted on his Facebook page. “Within two miles of the airport the engine quit and we were going down. I found a nice, well-maintained waterway to touch down in.”

The landing bent the propeller and caused other damage. “I didn’t  put gear down because I was afraid it would hit a hole then I’d have big problems,” Coussens wrote.

Eldridge fire was among those responding to the  incident near 145th Avenue and West LeClaire Road.

Watch Coussens' cockpit video of the landing.

Jerry Coussens, Davenport Municipal Airport, Eldridge Fire Department, LeClaire Road