Photo: Dave Ellis, The Free Lance-Star
The pilot of a small aircraft that made an emergency landing this morning in Spotsylvania County was able to walk away from his aircraft after it came to rest in the parking lot of a convenience store.
The pilot was attempting to land at nearby Shannon Airport as he was running low on fuel and was turned away from two other airports because of fog.
An earlier report from the scene was that pillot had taken off from the airport without checking his fuel and that was incorrect according to Shannon Airport manager, Robert Stanley.
Fredericksburg.com reports that tire tracks could be seen in a field between hangers and two buildings, one of which is the Rappahannock United Way next to Wawa. The plane careened through the United Way parking lot, knocking off the top of a mailbox, jumped over a ditch, skidded through a paved entry/exit to Wawa and ended up in the grass island near the two-lane road.
State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller reportsThe plane was en-route from Tampa, Florida, to Charlottesville but was diverted due to weather. The pilot, 33-year-old Jerome M. Orlando, of Broadway, Virginia, was first directed to Stafford Regional Airport. But, the plane was running short on fuel so it diverted to Shannon Airport. Due to a lack of fuel, the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in the parking lot.
The plane suffered minor damage. Only a mailbox and a parking sign were damaged on the ground.
Flightaware.com, an aircraft tracking web site shows that the Piper Cherokee Arrow is registered to Virginia Aircraft Rentals, LLC in Broadway, Virginia..