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Instructor had 14 seconds to land plane in Traverse City

Traverse City Record-Eagle

Traverse City, Mich. — A flight instructor had 14 seconds to safely land a plane after its engine died during its final approach, preliminary fact-finding by Federal Aviation Administration investigators indicates.

The crash landing sent the Northwestern Michigan College training plane into a backstop at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center’s athletic fields Tuesday, college spokeswoman Diana Fairbanks said.

Grand Traverse County Civic Center’s athletic fields.

Air traffic controllers cleared the flight for landing at Cherry Capital Airport just before 5 p.m., she said. They were returning from Gaylord.

The instructor radioed controllers again after the plane’s engine started slowing down, Fairbanks said. He took control of the single-engine Cessna from a student pilot after seeing the revolutions per minute drop and the engine started to sputter and choke, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported Friday.

The names of the flight instructor and student pilot haven’t been released.