Cars swerve as jet makes belly landing on State Road 70
by JILL TAYLOR
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Shannon Bobbitt was on her way home from work Monday, her 8-year-old son in the passenger's seat and her cellphone to her ear as she chatted with her husband.
Heading west on the two-lane State Road 70 outside of Okeechobee, her view was blocked by a minivan that suddenly swerved out of the way.
Pilot Bob Jeffery managed to avoid power lines and vehicles while landing a TS-11 Iskra training jet Monday.
"There was an airplane coming down the road," she said with a nervous laugh the day after the incident.
A two-passenger jet was making an emergency landing on the road and sliding straight for her Chevrolet Equinox. She told her husband she had to hang up because there was a jet in the road.
He told her he doubted it was a jet. A small plane, he suggested.
"No, it's a jet. Gotta go. Bye," she told him, flinging her cellphone and stretching her arm in front of her son in a protective gesture, sensing an impending crash.
She swerved, other vehicles did the same and the TS-11 Iskra finally stopped without hitting anyone and without injuring the pilot and his passenger.
Pilot Bob Jeffery of Bend, Ore., told Okeechobee County sheriff's officials he was flying patterns over the county when the aircraft lost power, and the road was the only clear space to land.
The jet made a belly landing, without any landing gear, narrowly missing power lines and a truck in the road.
Passenger Larry Littlefield of Boynton Beach was identified as the owner of the jet, which was originally designed as a training aircraft for jet pilots.
The Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the landing and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
The road was blocked for about four hours.