WATCH ABOVE: Pilot forced to make emergency landing at former City Centre Airport speaks about frightening ordeal.
EDMONTON — The pilot of a plane that was forced to make an emergency landing at Edmonton’s former City Centre Airport Saturday afternoon says he is physically okay, but pretty shaken up.
Darryl Zubot was flying his Pipistrel VIRUS SW above the Blatchford grounds when it experienced mechanical trouble shortly before 1 p.m. During his flight, the 28-year-old said he felt a shutter he had never felt before.
“I knew something extreme was wrong with the airplane and it’s not just a fuel issue or something like that,” Zubot said.
Zubot was able to land the aircraft safely at the former airport.
“By the time I got over top of the City Centre Airport I shut off the engine and then I had a parachute for the whole plane so I deployed that.”
Zubot’s brothers were watching him fly and witnesses the frightening ordeal; they ran to help him when they realized what happened.
“I’m just happy to be in one piece,” Zubot said Saturday night. “I don’t really care about the plane. I mean, it’s an expense but I’d rather have my limbs.”
Michael Gaddie was driving down 101 Street just before 118 Avenue when he saw the plane come down.
“I saw a big pink parachute and it was floating down to the ground just over NAIT,” he told Global News. “We saw it coming down this direction, we followed it over here and it landed upright at the airport here and the wind pulled it over with the parachute.”
WATCH: Gaddie captured the following video of the plane
The former executive director of the Alberta Aviation Museum says it appears the pilot did everything right.
“You see where the airplane settled, which is basically in the middle of the old City Centre Airport. It came down on its Ballistic Recovery Systems sheet, it’s away from everybody. From what you can see from the fence line, it doesn’t look like huge damage, the pilot walked away,” said Tom Hinderks.
“It’s really an incident that shows everything works in aviation when it’s supposed to.”
Fire crews were deployed to the scene but called back because there was no fire.
Police were also called to the scene, but officers wouldn’t comment on the crash as the investigation has been turned over to the Transportation Safety Board.