GOSHEN, IN – A heart-stopping incident unfolded on Tuesday afternoon as a vintage WWII-era plane made an emergency landing in a bean field after losing power during a flight from Anderson to Goshen.
According to reports the 1947 Piper PA-12 prop plane, piloted by 69-year-old Robert Haller II from Syracuse, was reportedly en route when it experienced power failure south of Warsaw.
Quick thinking and expert piloting skills came into play as Haller managed to touch down in a hay field located on the southeast corner of County Farm Road and County Road 400 South.
However, the plane couldn’t be brought to a complete halt before crossing County Farm Road, ultimately coming to rest in the neighboring bean field. Remarkably, no injuries were reported as a result of the ordeal.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by those who fly these historic warbirds. With many aircraft from the WWII era nearing the century mark, questions arise about the remaining years of service left in these aging treasures. As of today, only 45 B-17s remain in complete form, with a mere nine of them still airworthy, according to the Experimental Aircraft Association.
The emergency landing comes on the heels of other recent mishaps involving vintage aircraft. Just a few months ago, a WWII plane crashed at the Deer Park Airport in Washington, piloted by John Sessions, founder of the Historic Flight Foundation. Similarly, a WWII-era P-40 Warhawk crashed in Montana earlier this year, resulting in the tragic loss of a Minnesota businessman’s life.
But perhaps the most memorable, in November, a midair crash of two historic military planes during a Dallas air show resulted in six fatalities. The incident prompted national transportation officials to investigate the cause of the tragedy, underscoring ongoing concerns about the safety of air shows involving aging warplanes.
As aviation enthusiasts and historians hold their collective breaths, the question of how much longer these cherished remnants of history can take to the skies lingers. With each flight, these aircraft not only pay tribute to the Greatest Generation but also stand as a testament to the challenges and risks that come with keeping the past alive in the present day.