CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP/WOOD) — Friday’s crash-landing on a treacherous portion of a Wyoming highway marks a Holland pilot’s third crash in the last six years.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol says 67-year-old Steven Stam, of Holland, was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries Friday after putting down his single-engine plane on Interstate 80. The highway can be hazardous to drive, especially in foul weather.
Stam, a 20-year pilot, was flying over Telephone Canyon on his way to South Haven when he says he heard the engine make a strange sound. He immediately knew something was wrong.
“The RPMs were falling, which means I was losing airspeed which also means I was losing attitude,” Stam said.
Stam was close to hitting steep rock walls and forested mountainsides on either side of the interstate.
“I couldn’t turn around. It was impossible. I had to go forward and possibly land on the highway itself, which is a very dangerous thing to do,” Stam said.
Stam lost control of the plane and sight of the road below.
“I was pretty sure I was dead. I was just about positive this was it and suddenly the ground was there. I touched the interstate and came to a stop just off the interstate,” Stam said. “My tail was almost hanging over the interstate, but I did clear it and landed just a couple feet short of that canyon wall.”
The plane landed intact with damage to its nose and wing. A harness prevented Stam from going through the windshield, and he was able to get out of the plane alive.
On July 19, Stam landed his single-engine 1966 Alon A2 Aircoupe in the dunes behind the Spyglass Condominiums off Sea Watch Drive in Park Township. He was hospitalized with minor injuries.
After that crash, Stam told 24 Hour News 8, “I’m going to get right back on the horse.”
In 2009, a rough landing at the Park Township Airport sent him into some trees. He was not hurt in that crash.
But on Saturday after more than 20 years of flying, Stan told 24 Hour News 8 that he has decided to stay grounded.
“I’m not going to put my family through this anymore.”