UPDATE @ 8:29 p.m.: Acrobatic pilot Skip Stewart said he is extremely disappointed he won't be able to perform in the 2019 Vectren Dayton Air Show this weekend because of the engine trouble Thursday night that forced him to land on Tipp Elizabeth Road in Tipp City.
“Something popped in the engine,” he said at the scene. “There’s oil all over the road.”
The small black bi-plane, decked out in red flame decals, is fine, Stewart said, if he had an engine.
Stewart, of Memphis, was on his way from the Detroit area to Dayton International Airport when he experienced engine trouble just before 7 p.m. and called the control tower to declare an emergency.
“It became evident I wasn’t going to make it to the airport,” he said. “So I found a safe place to land.”
He surveyed his surroundings and saw there was no traffic on Tipp Elizabeth Road, about a mile west of state Route 202 in Miami County.
“It would have been much scarier if there wasn’t a nice place to land,” Stewart said.
It’s pilot stuff, he continued, noting he was in control of the aircraft through the entire incident. He said he had an engine that was dying slowly, which helped. Stewart said he was prepared to land in a field off the road had there been traffic.
He said he pushed the plane out of the road -- and partially into a ditch.
“I didn’t want to block traffic. Guess I was being too nice,” he said.
UPDATE @ 7:35 p.m.:
Skip Stewart, a scheduled performer at the Vectren Dayton Air Show this weekend, is the pilot who made an emergency landing on Tipp Elizabeth Road, about a mile west of state Route 202 in Miami County.
Stewart was not injured.
Tipp Elizabeth Road is closed until further notice.
William Lewis "Skip" Stewart, better known as Skip Stewart, is an aerobatic and commercial pilot who flies in airshows throughout the United States and abroad, in his two highly modified Pitts muscle biplanes.
Stewart has been featured in publications such as Smithsonian Air & Space, AOPA and Sports Illustrated. He’s also the recipient of the International Air Shows Sword of Excellence and many other distinguished awards that signifies he’s one of the best in the business.
Stewart is the first pilot to fly an airplane under a jumping motorcycle at an air show.
He’s the recipient of two prestigious awards: the 2013 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship and the 2015 Art Scholl Award.
Stewart has more than 10,000 hours of flying experience. His day job is an airline transport pilot.
His aircraft is named Prometheus after Greek mythology. Prometheus was a rebel titan who displeased Zeus by taking from him and giving to the people of earth the power of fire. A well-matched name for a hot rod aircraft.
Stewart last appeared in Dayton in 2013. He is scheduled to perform this weekend.
Emergency responders are on their way to an area in Tipp City on a report of a plane that had to make an emergency landing this evening on state Route 202 in Miami County.
We’re hearing that the pilot is OK but doesn’t know where he is.
Crews are heading to an area between Tipp Elizabeth Road and state Route 202.
The pilot was headed Dayton International Airport, then called the control tower there when he encountered some kind of mechanical trouble. Control tower personnel called Montgomery County Regional Dispatch, a dispatch sergeant said.
We will update this developing report as we learn more.