July 12, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 162

Single engine airplane makes emergency landing on U.S. 2

BESSEMER — A single engine airplane was forced to make an emergency landing on U.S. 2 near Blackjack Road in Bessemer Township at 4:45 a.m., Thursday, according to a Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department release.

Submitted photo
A single-engine plane is towed back to the airport on Powderhorn Road Thursday morning after its pilot, Aaron Ruotsala, of Ironwood, made a emergency landing on U.S. 2 earlier in the morning.

Aaron Ruotsala, of Ironwood, was alone on an early morning flight to Iron River when the low oil pressure light came on, he said.

Soon his engine failed in midair.

Ruotsala was online with Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center during the flight, and when it was evident that he would be unable to make it back to the airport, they told him to use U.S. 2.

“It’s the largest runway I’ve ever used,” said Ruotsala. “You train for this type of emergency but never expect it. When it happens you just use what you learn, and know that God is watching over you.”

Minneapolis Traffic Control called the Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department for Ruotsala, and deputies arrived within 30 seconds of his landing, Ruotsala said. “They were wonderful to work with.”

Ruotsala credits Gogebic-Iron Airport manager Mike Harma and other airport employees with helping to get his airplane back to the airport.

“I’m just glad no one was hurt. It was a blessing that it happened at such an early time of day, and the road was clear,” Ruotsala said. He only saw one car as he came in for a landing.

Ruotsala’s plane’s motor has to be sent in for repair.

Ruotsala went skydiving last week, and was told that nothing could top that. This has, he said.