An 83-year-old man piloting a World War I vintage aircraft perfectly executed a forced landing in a pasture near Strawberry.
Pilot Forrest Cline known in Payson and his home in Rimrock, Ariz. as "Doggie" was able to successfully land the crippled plane in a rocky meadow just south of the pioneer ranch home of Lufkin Hunt.
Cline told Gila County Sheriff's Deputy Sam Brewer, who was dispatched to investigate, that his plane lost power while he was flying over Strawberry on the way to Payson Airport, where he planned to meet friends.
After investigating the incident, Brewer chauffeured Cline to the airport where the pilot was able to enjoy a belated breakfast with his flying buddies.
According to Brewer, the pilot took off from Rimrock/Sedona Airport early Saturday morning.
After the plane lost power over Strawberry, Cline was able to land the British America SEA 5 warplane successfully on the rough, potted pasture. The craft was not damaged.
Cline who had a valid pilot's license and was medically certified to fly was not injured, Brewer said.
After landing, Cline taxied the plane next to the home of Gene Simpson, who said he was in the bathroom at the time and was surprised to hear the engine roar so closely.
"I walked outside," Simpson said, "and a neighbor asked, 'did you see that plane?'" "'What plane?' I said. Then I turned around, and there it was sitting next to my house."
Cline is well known at Payson Airport, where he often displays his vintage plane in local airshows. During his last appearance, in May of 1999, he donned a World War I army uniform for the show.
No further investigation is expected, airport personnel said, since the pilot and the aircraft were uninjured during the landing. Cline was later able to repair his plane and return home.