The engine was getting weaker, and pilot Jerry Coussens knew he’d have to think fast.

Coussens, who was piloting his Lance Air 4 Experimental craft mid-morning Saturday, came down safely near a cornfield in the area of 145th Avenue west of Eldridge. Neither he nor his passenger were injured.

“Twenty-six hours on it, and the engine just quit,” Coussens told Local 4 News. “I’d been losing ground because the engine was getting weaker and weaker, and we were going down.”

“So I was looking for a field or something,” Coussens continued. He saw a water way – a grassy strip between two fields – as a spot to land. “It wasn’t straight but it was better than something else,” Coussens said.

“I didn’t put the gear down. I’d like to say it was planned, but I think I was just too busy,” he said.

Neither Coussens nor his friend have a scratch.

Coussens can rebuild the craft, which took six years of work. In his 30 years of flying, he has flown about 1,400 hours.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash. Later Saturday, Coussens was waiting to learn when the craft can be moved.

(photo by Eric Olsen)