On Tuesday afternoon, a home-built Zenith CH801 airplane made an emergency landing on Highway 18 between Lake Cowichan and Skutz Falls. Pilot Stewart Hicks cited fuel starvation as the issue that forced him to land, the exact cause of which is still unknown. He said the engine cut out just above Lake Cowichan.
“My first thought was getting it down in one piece. And me with it,” he said. “I just came in for a normal landing, with no engine, and on the road. And fortunately there was no truck coming in the other direction.”
He was making a local flight at the time.
“I was heading up the Valley and then back to Duncan,” he said. Hicks knew he was in trouble when, just as he reached the south shore of Cowichan Lake, his engine cut off.
Hicks has been flying since the 1960s and says he’s never experienced something like this. “Not on a road, no. It’s a first,” he said. There was no damage to the plane during the course of the landing.
“Any landing you walk away from is a good landing,” he said.