Pilot Lands Single-Engine Plane On Highway 87

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This small aircraft carrying a Chandler couple made an emergency landing on the southbound stretch of Highway 87 in Rye on Tuesday. After the pilot made repairs to the engine, DPS officers stopped traffic for several minutes so the plane could take off.

Southbound Highway 87 motorists Tuesday witnessed quite a sight in Rye.

A small aircraft carrying a Chandler couple made an emergency landing on the black top just after 10 a.m. due to a mechanical issue, said Capt. Stephen M. Harrison, public information officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The plane had just taken off from the Payson Municipal Airport and was flying over Rye en route to the Valley when pilot Alan Anthony Tautkus was forced to land due to a vapor lock issue, Harrison said.

The aircraft was pushed to the side of the roadway while Tautkus worked on the engine. The highway remained open.

“It is a little bit of an embarrassment,” Tautkus said.

After repairing the engine, the Arizona Department of Transportation gave Tautkus authorization to take off, and DPS officers stopped southbound traffic for several minutes so the plane could take off.

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