Cirrus Pilot Makes "Miracle" Landing In Ireland

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A Cirrus SR22 being ferried across the Atlantic ran out of fuel and sputtered to a stop just seconds after landing at Shannon Airport in Ireland late on Friday, The Canadian Press reported Saturday. The safe landing was "a great miracle story at the end of 2004," as well as a feat of airmanship, Royal Air Force rescue squad member Michael Mulford told the CP. "[The pilot] must have judged it right down to the last turn of the propeller," Mulford said. (There were perhaps other considerations.) The pilot had taken off from Newfoundland, and reported that the right fuel tank had started to leak about 400 miles from the Irish coast. The rescue squad had been preparing for a possible ditching in the wintry North Atlantic. Strong tailwinds were cited for helping the airplane make shore. A Nimrod search-and-rescue aircraft, equipped for a sea rescue, followed the Cirrus to its landing.

The airplane had been forced to descend from about 12,000 feet to 4,500 feet after heavy rain and snow showers caused icing on control surfaces. The exhausted pilot, whose name was not available, was taken to a hotel for a rest. "He was sweating. It's only natural coming across like that," airport spokesman Paul Phelan told the Canadian Press. Cirrus spokeswoman Kate Andrews told AVweb yesterday that ferry pilots are contracted by the aircraft owner, not by Cirrus, so she had no information on the flight. "We're delighted that the pilot and airplane are OK," she said, and noted that the glass cockpit in an SR22 is a great aid to the pilot when dealing with difficult situations. "It can provide so much information, on fuel burn, calculating distance to the airport, and so much more," she said. Andrews also said it is customary to fit out aircraft with supplemental fuel tanks before crossing the North Atlantic, but she had no information about this particular flight.