Unplanned Stop

Date: January 25, 1990
Location: Longview, TX
By: Michael Ramey
Newspaper: Longview News-Journal
Page: 1, 14

SUBTITLE: Pump malfunction forces plane to land at airstrip near U.S. 80

A fuel pump malfunction forced the pilot of a Cessna 206 single-engine plane en route to Belize, Central America, to make an emergency landing Wednesday at Longview’s East Side Airport.

However, none of the three people on board the six-seat aircraft were hurt, as the plane made a near-perfect landing on the muddy airstrip near U.S. 80 East around 1:15 p.m.

Longview firefighters were on the scene and prepared for the worst, but only had to wash the mud off the plane after the landing.

“Although the plane’s engine did not stop, the flight began getting rough, and the pilot didn’t want to fly further on the electrical back-up fuel pump because it is not dependable,” said passenger Ruth Malvern of St. Louis. “Instead of attempting to fly over Longview, he decided to land it at this little airfield on the east side.”

She added that she was not scared of the forced landing because the co-pilot, her husband Donald, and pilot Joe Dobronski of St. Louis are both retired from McDonnell Douglas, an aircraft manufacturer.

All three are members of the non-profit group Wings of Hope based in St. Louis. The plane was on its way to Belize and will be used to fly patients needing emergency treatment to medical facilities.

“Most of the places they will fly to are only 30 minutes by plane, but often take more than two days to reach by foot,” Mrs. Malvern said. “We were to stop in McAllen (Wednesday night), and fly to Dan Pedro, Belize, (Thursday) morning.”

Belize is a small country southeast of Mexico.

Wings of Hope is supported entirely by donations, she said, and in the organization’s 27-year history, they have delivered 86 planes to countries all over the world, including in Latin America, Indonesia and Africa.

CAPTION: Assistant Fire Chief Lee Fort helps Scott Long, left, hose down a plane for pilot Joe Dobronski, right, after Dobronski made an emergency landing Wednesday afternoon at the East Side Airport. Dobronski was forced to land the plane after a mechanical fuel pump failed.

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