Aspen man glides plane to safe landing after losing propeller
ASPEN – A pilot managed to land safely after the propeller fell off his plane and oil splattered on the windshield.Barry Cox had to glide 8 miles and navigate without being able to see out the windshield before landing smoothly at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport on Wednesday.”(Cox) just did a tremendous job,” the airport’s assistant aviation director, David Ulane, said. “Not only did he land without a propeller, he wasn’t able to see out the front…It’s one of the more tremendous things I’ve seen.”Cox, his daughter and two acquaintances were 10 minutes into a 110-mile flight to Denver International Airport in a single-engine Piper Malibu when the oil splashed across the windshield and he heard a loud boom.”I didn’t know it at the time but that’s when the propeller fell off,” Cox said.He managed to turn the plane around navigating through the side windows, then followed procedures he had studied and practiced through more than 30 years of flying.”My daughter said she was scared,” Cox said. “I was just saying, ‘We’re OK, we can glide from here and make it.”‘The local fire and sheriff’s departments were called to the airport, but Cox landed without incident before they arrived. He was greeted with handshakes from mechanics nearby.”We all kind of did a double take as he went by,” Ulane said.A businessman originally from Missouri, Cox began flying planes out of college and logged as much time in the air as many commercial pilots commuting between subsidiaries of his distributing business. He said those years experience taking off and landing in Aspen kept him calm under pressure.”Barry (Cox) was so calm about it,” said friend and passenger Stan Cheo of Woody Creek. “He pulled off an amazing stunt. He’s an incredible pilot.”Cox said he has landed a plane without a windshield, but he had never even heard of a propeller just falling off.”It was exciting,” he said. “This was just one of those freak things.”
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