Biplane evades crash with Highway 50 emergency landing

A biplane made an emergency landing on Highway 50 in Silver Springs Friday after losing power during takeoff from Silver Springs Airport.

Pilot Roy Heaps and co-pilot Shirley Svob were not injured after clipping a power line during their descent, said Lyon County investigator Rob Hall.

"On the takeoff the engine lost power and the rear wheel caught the powerline," he said. "Through some great flying and evasive moves, he was able to make a landing on the highway."

Traffic was sparse on the road near the Lahontan Medical Center when the plane landed about 8 a.m. No cars were in danger of getting hit, Hall said. The power line that was clipped was quickly reattached by Sierra Pacific Power Co. workers.

"Heaps told investigators he recently purchased the biplane in Guatemala and was flying it back to his home in Vancouver, British Columbia," according to the sheriff's office.

"The rear wheel of the aircraft caught a power line. When Heaps found himself headed for another power line, he took evasive action going under the other power lines and then made an emergency landing."

Heaps reportedly stopped at the Silver Springs Airport to refuel before continuing north. After the emergency landing, the airplane was taken back to the airport for inspection. Because there were no injuries or damage, Federal Aviation Administration officials declared the landing a "non-incident."

Bill's RV & Mini-Storage owner Bill Rogers said he was just arriving at work when he found Graham Avenue blocked by the aircraft landing.

"They had the militia, police and everyone there," Rogers said. "It landed just before I got there."

After a few hours, Rogers said, he looked out of his window and "it was taxiing by."

Graham Avenue is just south of Silver Springs Airport.

Hall said Heaps is expected to continue on his journey after repairs are made.


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