Dennis Spradling's flight was almost shorter than the Wright brothers.
At a quarter to four, Lubbock International Airport, Spradling no sooner takes off for Santa Fe, before dropping off the radar. LIA calls police saying, "We've lost an aircraft one mile south of the airport."
"We got a call in reference to an aircraft that made an emergency landing on the loop," said LPD Sgt. E.N. Barron. It happened so fast, police didn't have time to block traffic for a makeshift runway.
"He was just wobblin' and set it right on down," said truck driver James Stanford. He saw the 1946 Cessna floundering in distress. "I looked up and there was a plane. He was sort of wigglin' and stuff and he just landed right there on the freeway here," he said.
What happened? "Engine failure is the prognosis the pilot gave," said Barron. Carburetor ice, which froze the engine and chilled any chance for an interview. "Make sure his finger is off of the [record]button," Spradling said as he pointed at a NewsChannel 11 photographer.
With no injuries, except for some pride, the yellow-capped Spradling received high marks from red-headed Barron. "I'd give him a ten! He avoided three sets of power lines, some poles, and a lot of obstacles," he smiled.
Forty five minutes later Spradling's wounded bird was escorted back to the airport by none other, than the Red Barron.