Yesterday morning, a Cessna 172 made an emergency landing in Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn yesterday. The pilot, Paul Dudley of Staten Island, had taken off from West Hampton Airport in Long Island and was headed to Linden Airport. But Dudley says after flying over the Jamaica Bay Inlet and Floyd Bennett Field, his engine went out and he decided to land the plane.
Dudley said, "I detected something wrong with the airplane, and rather than risk going across the water and maybe or maybe not making it, this was the closest available field. You’re trained to look for places to land. That’s all there is to it... If you have a good spot and an empty spot, you take it. You don’t take the chance of kids playing ball in the next field." He also said that it's much safer to fly than drive a car and that he called his wife and told her not to cash in the insurance check yet. Har de har har!
One witness told the Daily News the plane "came so low, we could see the pilot." The NY Times spoke to witnesses who thought the plane was out of gas (it wasn't) and were surprised that Dudley wasn't hurt, thinking it had crashed into a crane. The Times also explains that Calvert Vaux Park was built on "displaced dirt" from the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
The Post, though, has the somewhat eyebrow-raising quote from Dudley: "You know what happens with small planes and apartment buildings."