By Martin Slagter
---- — The pilot of a small plane that experienced engine failure avoided disaster this afternoon, performing an off-runway landing in a field off the U.S. 31 bypass behind the FedEx Ground building.
Howard County Sheriff’s deputies and Indiana State Police troopers responded to the emergency landing, where the pilot, Jerry Jumper, safely landed the aircraft just after noon.
When Jumper began to experience engine problems with the aircraft at 4,500 feet elevation, he realized he needed to make an emergency landing and attempted to head back to Kokomo Municipal Airport. Because the plane was malfunctioning, Jumper instead landed the plane while coming in from the northeast.
Howard County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Jerry Asher said the off-runway landing was unusual and that he didn’t believe the plane was experiencing any fuel issues because it had just taken off.
“It doesn’t sound like he got too far,” Asher said of Jumper’s flight course. “The engine quit and he tried to start it up again through his training but he wasn’t able to.”
Jumper, who ferries airplanes from Kokomo to different airports across the country, was planning to fly the plane to Kentucky on Tuesday, Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers said.