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Pilot lands on Long Island highway for second time in 8 days

For the second time in just eight days, a New York pilot has landed his single-engine airplane along Sunrise Highway on Long Island, officials said Friday.

Suffolk County Police say the same pilot made an emergency landing last Thursday along Sunrise Highway in Eastport.
Photo courtesy of jesssmillli/Instagram (used with permission)

Suffolk County Police say Frank Fierro, 75, of Lake Ronkonkoma, took off Friday afternoon from Sparado Airport in East Moriches and began to experience engine trouble. He “was able to land the plane on eastbound Sunrise Highway” shortly before 1 p.m. He then maneuvered the aircraft to the right shoulder of the highway, cops said.

Last Thursday, Fierro landed his Challenger plane in the median of the same highway – very close to the same location. In that incident, police said he had also experience engine difficulties and “realized the plane would not make it back.” There was no damage to the aircraft or to the highway.

The Federal Aviation Administration said last week they had launched an investigation. Police said today was the first time Fierro tried to fly the plane again. An FAA spokeswoman said the agency is also investigating today’s incident.

According to authorities, Suffolk County police towed the plane back to the airport. No one was injured. Fierro could not immediately be reached for comment.

A New York City man was killed last week when his small aircraft crashed into the Long Island Sound near Mattituck – about 25 miles from Eastport. Authorities said the plane hit the water about eight miles north of the Mattituck Inlet just before 9 a.m. Monday. A Southold Town Police marine unit was the first emergency crew on the scene.

Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley identified the pilot as 41-year-old Zubair Khan. Officials said they believe the aircraft was “homemade.” It had been registered with federal authorities as “experimental.”

Southold Police Det. Sgt. John Sinning said officers found the plane floating in the Long Island Sound and removed Khan’s body from the aircraft. At a news briefing near the scene, he said it was not immediately clear what caused the plane to go down. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating that crash.

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