EKU Aviation Instructor, student make emergency landing

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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - It was a lesson they weren't expecting. Tonight we've learned a small plane that made an emergency landing at Blue Grass Airport last night had an EKU student and an instructor on board.

We first told you about the close call last night at 11 on WKYT. The plane had to land on one wheel.

"Oh, I feel incredibly lucky. I was expecting the worst," said Cody Barnes, EKU flight instructor.

Barnes and EKU Sophomore, Dan Albertsen took off from Madison County Airport earlier in the day for the Warren County Airport near Cincinnati to practice landings. That's where they realized something was wrong with the landing gear.

"And so we tried to troubleshoot it by trying it again. It didn't work and that's when we realized we had a problem," Barnes said.

The duo decided to turn around and head for Bluegrass Airport where emergency assistance would be standing by should they crash during landing.

"We were nervous of course, both of us were praying in the cockpit," said Barnes. "So, it was pretty scary."

Albertson an Aviation student at Eastern, say, he thought about his family and girlfriend, as they hit the runway on one wheel.

"We just slowly faded off to the right," Albertsen explained. "It was smooth, no jolts, no bumps really."

They came to a stop in a grassy area just off the runway, shaken, but alive.

"Oh, we hugged each other, we had never hugged each other in our lives," Barnes said with a smile. "It was an awesome feeling."

It's an experience and life lesson these two young pilots won't soon forget.

"I'm not glad that this happened," said Albertsen. "But now that it did happen, I'm glad I was there to experience it."

Ralph Gibbs, director of EKU's Aviation program said his instructor and student pilot did everything by the book.

"I couldn't be prouder of both of them," Gibbs stated.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating. Bluegrass Airport's runway was closed for more than an hour.

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