Minot plane disaster averted

Two Fargo businessmen avoided disaster Tuesday afternoon by safely landing their private airplane back in Minot after one of its two engines went out 20 minutes into their flight back to Fargo from Minot.

The blue and white Beechcraft King plane was piloted by Jim Roers, who has been flying his own planes since 1989.

“There was a lot of smoke coming from the engine and that was a little unnerving but Jim did an excellent job,” said Larry Nygard, the sole passenger of the plane. “He was real calm about it. He shut the engine off, turned the props … turned it around and landed without incident.”

The smoke from the landing plane could be seen at least as far as the incoming flights entrance to Minot International Airport, several blocks from the general aviation terminal farther north on North Broadway that the Beechcraft flew to.

The smoke, of course, didn’t hinder visibility since the air whipped it past the craft.

After returning from the hangar to inspect his craft, Roers offered additional details.

“There’s a fuel line heater and it blew a gasket off of that and all the fuel just went overboard so the engine basically just shut off because it had no fuel,” he said.

In fact, fuel was still dripping onto the runway under the plane as mechanics began to pull it to the hangar.

“We put around 250 hours per year on this plane for the last few years,’ Roers said.

“This plane is scheduled to go in Thanksgiving day for two new engines to be put in,” he said, adding, with a laugh, “a few days longer” would all it would have taken to have avoided the problem.

Labor for a fix should only take about two hours once the needed parts arrive.

“After I got everything stabilized,” Roers added, “Larry’s comment was ‘Gee, this plane flies real nice on one engine.'”