For more than an hour, the northbound lanes of Highway 160 served as a runway for a small airplane.
The event was witnessed by Pahrump resident Ryan Muccio, who was on the highway driving into Las Vegas around 2:30 p.m. Friday.
Though he did not actually see the plane touch down on the highway about 15 miles south of Pahrump, Muccio said he arrived shortly after Nevada Highway Patrol troopers began their investigation.
At the time, traffic along the roadway in both directions was very light.
“I safely pulled over and took some pictures and spoke to some of the people on the highway, including a highway patrol trooper,” Muccio said. “The trooper told me that the pilot of the plane had to make an emergency landing on the highway because it was having issues distributing fuel. There were at least three Nevada Highway Patrol troopers on the highway.”
No injuries to anyone on the plane or along the highway were reported. Another witness, Julie Powers, reported via the Pahrump Road Report Facebook group, that the plane had landed about two miles after the Tecopa turnoff from Highway 160.
The plane had taken off from Calvada Aeropark in Pahrump, Muccio said.
Information from authorities was limited, including the pilot’s name and where the plane was headed.
“From the information I received from our dispatch, the aircraft ran out of fuel,” Trooper Jason Buratczuk said. “It was back in the air a short time later. No injuries or damage to property were reported. For the other information, contact the FAA, because the NHP does not investigate aircraft mishaps.”
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the FAA had no immediate information.
According to an FAA database, the fixed-wing single-engine STOL CH-750 Zenith Aircraft is registered to Pahrump resident Robert Shallenberger.
A message was left for him by the Pahrump Valley Times.
Muccio, meanwhile, said that the pilot and aircraft were both again airborne after being stranded a short while on the highway.
He said he’s relieved that everything turned out OK for the parties involved.
“I’m not sure if the pilot was able to bring more fuel for the plane, or correct the problem distributing the fuel,” he said. “Whatever it was, he was able to eventually take off. That was definitely something you don’t really see every day here in Pahrump or just about anywhere for that matter. It was quite interesting and I was just very happy that no one was injured, and everything turned out OK.”
Muccio’s video of the plane’s highway-takeoff is on the Pahrump Valley Times’ Facebook page.