UPDATE: Motorized glider forced to land on roadway in Richland

Tri-City Herald staff writersApril 21, 2013 

Jim Leedy of Richland had to land his motorized glider unexpectedly Sunday afternoon on Stevens Drive near Battelle in Richland.

Leedy told the Herald he took off from the Richland airport about 12:30 p.m. After a while he turned the motor off to do a little soaring.

“But there wasn’t enough lift. When I went to turn the engine back on, the battery wasn’t powerful enough to start it, so I had to land it,” Leedy said.

No one was injured. Leedy said gliders are designed to land in dirt fields and other unconventional places and not always on an airport runway.

But he never intended to have to land on a busy road. Leedy said he radioed the Pasco airport tower that he was having a bit of trouble and needed to land the glider on Stevens Drive, so airport officials contacted Richland police and the Benton County Sheriff's Department, which cleared the road for a safe landing.

“I got the glider started again once I was on the ground, but unfortunately the police didn’t want me to try and take off again,” Leedy said.

So the wings of the glider were folded back and Leedy had to slowly drive it a couple of miles back to the Richland airport with two people walking along each side of the plane to secure the wings.

-- Dori O’Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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