Airplane makes emergency landing on Mont. highway

July 21, 2011 - 3:29 PM

DARBY, Mont. (AP) — A retired air traffic controller piloting a small plane to western Montana for a vacation wasn't cleared for a landing when his plane's engine died — good thing the highway was empty.

Pilot James Hollis of Erie, Colo., was forced to make an emergency landing on U.S. Highway 93 on Thursday morning when his Cessna 182 appeared to run out of fuel.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Scott Bennett says the plane was mistakenly drawing fuel from only one of its two tanks. Once on the ground, Hollis discovered the problem and switched tanks.

Bennett says it was lucky no motorists were on the usually busy highway and Hollis was able to avoid power lines.

Troopers closed the road so the plane could take off again. No one was injured.