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Pilot uninjured in unexpected landing

This two-seat plane sits in a Midvale Road pasture Monday where it was landed Sunday by a Seattle student pilot after it reportedly developed engine trouble. - Matt Johnson
This two-seat plane sits in a Midvale Road pasture Monday where it was landed Sunday by a Seattle student pilot after it reportedly developed engine trouble.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

A student pilot on a solo flight between Tacoma and Bellingham narrowly avoided serious injury Sunday afternoon when engine trouble forced him to crash land in a South Whidbey pasture.

Todd Fossberg, 27, of Seattle made a near-perfect landing in a pasture off Midvale Road at about 3 p.m. Sunday after the engine in the 1976 Cessna 150 he was flying began to fail. According to the Island County Sheriff's Office, Fossberg was taking a solo flight required to earn his pilot's license.

Fossberg, a King County probation officer, was on his way back from Bellingham after flying to the northern city out of the Tacoma Narrows Airport. The plane he was flying was a rental out of Tacoma's Zephyr Aviation. Sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Smith said Fossberg was able to put the plane down in a pasture and keep the craft upright. The landing was not completely smooth -- the plane's landing gear snagged on some rough ground in the pasture and pitched the craft forward. Smith said though Fossberg received no serious injuries, the plane suffered "extensive damage."

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the crash site -- which is on land owned by Clinton's Roy Hagglund -- on Monday. The plane's owner had not retrieved the aircraft by Tuesday.

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