Queens pol ‘blessed’ after his aircraft’s engine misplaced energy, compelled emergency touchdown

A Queens state assemblyman says he has some divine intervention to thank for the miraculous emergency touchdown he made on a Long Island seaside Friday in his small aircraft

“I’ve been blessed,” Queens state Assemblyman Clyde Vanel advised The Post, a day after managing to securely land on a tiny spit of sand uncovered by low tide after the craft all of the sudden misplaced energy.

“I don’t know why God spared me, but I guess I’m here for a reason.”

Vanel, 48, was out for a jaunt with a pal Friday when all of the sudden, the engine of his Beechcraft misplaced energy, he stated.

The elected official, whose thirty third Assembly district represents elements of southeast Queens, is an skilled leisure pilot who studied aviation at SUNY Farmingdale and flies as soon as each few weeks, he stated.

The skies have been clear when Vanel and his pal took off from Brookhaven Airport in Suffolk County, and all was fantastic, he stated — till it wasn’t.

Vanel was out for a jaunt with a pal Friday when all of the sudden, the engine of his Beechcraft misplaced energy.
John Roca

“We were about 10 miles from the airport … over the water, clear day, nice weather, nothing crazy, nothing special,” he stated.

In greater than 10 years of flying, “I’ve never had an engine failure before,” he stated. “You train for it so much, the muscle memory kicks in.”

The emergency unfolded in only a few minutes, as Vanel realized his engine wasn’t getting any energy.

“It stopped responding,” he stated. “Imagine you’re driving and you put your foot on the gas but you’re not accelerating.”

He started performing a listing of emergency checks, all whereas feverishly attempting to find one of the best place to deliver the now-gliding aircraft safely to the bottom, stated Vanel, who feared crashing right into a home.

“I knew I couldn’t get back to Brookhaven. Calverton [Executive Airpark] was a little close, but it looked a little far. Then there was Shoreham [Nuclear Power Plant] close to me, but I wasn’t definitely sure I could make it over all the trees and houses,” he stated.

Then he noticed it: a small slip of sand, normally coated up by water and now revealed at low tide.

“I could definitely make it on the beach and there was nobody there,” Vanel stated. “I knew if I landed on the beach I would have damage to the airplane, but I might be able to survive that.”

A lone chook watcher captured Vanel’s touchdown on video, as he gently introduced the aircraft down, its nostril dragging alongside the shore earlier than the physique of the plane flopped down.

“I was so shaken up,” stated Vanel, who stated he couldn’t recall the precisely second, however instantly rushed himself and his pal out of the aircraft, fearing a hearth. “I’m still kind of in a state of shock.”

While the aircraft is broken — and as of Saturday, nonetheless sitting on the Shoreham seaside — Vanel walked away with only a scratch on his chin.

With no cell reception on the seaside, the chook watcher helped Vanel and his pal name authorities. He hopes to retrieve the broken aircraft Sunday, and plans to fly once more, saying aviation is “in my DNA.”

“I’m going to be speaking about training and safety much more now,” he stated, crediting his coaching with retaining him alive. “I don’t know if that will save every situation but you can make a bad situation less bad.”

Additional reporting by Georgett Roberts