Plane makes emergency landing in Hayling field

113134_PLANE_CRASH_03/09/11''(left) Jim Birnie and Laurie Garaghan managed to walk away unscathed from their N3N biplane. They had been flying from the Isle of Wight over to Goodwood but had to do an emergency landing in a field at Tournerbury Farm, Hayling Island.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113134-566)
113134_PLANE_CRASH_03/09/11''(left) Jim Birnie and Laurie Garaghan managed to walk away unscathed from their N3N biplane. They had been flying from the Isle of Wight over to Goodwood but had to do an emergency landing in a field at Tournerbury Farm, Hayling Island.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113134-566)

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TWO pilots have described the moment their plane engine failed as they flew over Hayling Island.

Laurie Garaghan and Jim Birnie, pictured on the front page, were in an N3N biplane when the engine stopped working.

So the quick-thinking pair looked for a place to land and minutes later were safe on the ground in a farmer’s field on Hayling Island.

Laurie, 49, of Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, said: ‘We were flying from Sandown and were going to Goodwood for lunch.

‘It’s a 20-minute journey, but at about 10 minutes in we could hear the engine starting to play up.

‘Then it went off completely and we knew then we had to make a landing.

‘It’s one of those things – you see a field and you make a decision to land so you just go ahead and do it.

‘As landings go it wasn’t a bad one, we only lost a tail wheel.

‘At the time of landing, that’s all you think about doing – landing!’

Co-pilot Jim, who is also a part-owner of the American naval aircraft, said that the plane is in regular use.

He added: ‘We always do safety checks before we leave. I guess this was just one of those things.

‘As soon as we landed we were checked by ambulance staff and we were both fine.’

The pair landed on land at Tournerbury Farm, in Tournerbury Lane, behind Tournerbury Golf Centre, where golfer Kevin Bond had been playing.

Kevin, 55, said: ‘I was playing golf with my brother and we were at the seventh hole.

‘When we walked over we were surprised to see a plane had landed there.

‘It looked like it had just been placed there and didn’t look damaged at all.

‘Then all of a sudden there were ambulance, fire and police crews everywhere.

‘It was amazing to hear the pilots got out of the plane and managed to land it so well.’

Police, the fire service and ambulance crews were called at 2pm.

A fire service spokeswoman said that crews were sent out to ensure the site was safe due to the plane carrying fuel.

First to arrive were farm owners Graham and Sue Phillips.

Sue, 54, said: ‘I was so amazed they had landed the plane without breaking it.

‘The ground is extremely rough there and it’s a wonder they got down safely.

‘Both pilots were so calm – it’s so extraordinary.’

The plane was recovered yesterday.