Cow pasture doubles an emergency runway

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2006

AHOSKIE – Imagine the surprise of local motorists traveling on NC 42 west of Ahoskie on Sunday where they witnessed a three-wheel, motorized craft not normally seen on a highway.

A Virginia pilot was attempting to use that long stretch of NC 42 between WRCS/WQDK radio station and the NC 11 intersection as a runway for take-off.

According to Sgt. Todd Lane of the Ahoskie office of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Michael Edward Trimmer of Harrisonburg, Va. was flying a 1946 Air Coupe over Hertford County after leaving an airport at Nags Head.

“He thought his aircraft was running low on oil, so he was attempting to make it to Tri-County Airport,” Sgt. Lane said.

Trimmer and an unidentified passenger didn’t quite make it to Tri-County. He was able to safely land the plane in a field adjacent to NC 42. From there, an unidentified person used a farm tractor to pull the aircraft out from the field and onto NC 42 at which time Trimmer was preparing to attempt a take-off.

However, Hertford County Deputy Sheriff Will Liverman, while on routine patrol, was able to stop Trimmer’s take-off attempt.

“Deputy Liverman contacted us and we informed Mr. Trimmer that he could not use a state-maintained road as a runway due to safety reasons,” Sgt. Lane said.

With help from the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office and Ahoskie Police Department, a portion of NC 42 was briefly blocked while Trimmer taxied his plane to a private residence.

Following adjustments to a fence, Trimmer and his passenger entered a cow pasture from where the plane safety returned to the skies.

Law enforcement officers remained stationed at the scene until Trimmer made his successful take-off.

Barry Blowe, an Ahoskie fireman at the scene, said Trimmer informed local residents that he had taken off from the Nags Head airport in an attempt to fly to Virginia Beach. However, his plane was encountering stiff headwinds and Trimmer took a more westerly course in an effort to skirt around the winds.