MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Charles Town, W.Va., student pilot was safe at home Sunday after making an emergency landing on Saturday in a field near the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport.
West Virginia State Police said Duane Melius, 40, was flying from Winchester, Va., to the municipal airport near Martinsburg at about 9:50 p.m. when he had to land.
John Collins, chief flight instructor at Aero-Smith Inc., was watching his student Saturday night from the airport.
"I was a little concerned," Collins said Sunday. "I could hear him on the radio and I tried to get in contact with him but I was unable to."
Collins saw the plane's lights disappear behind some trees and drove to the field to find Melius.
"It was a tense moment," Collins said.
He found the plane about 1,000 yards from the airport. Melius, a student pilot with 40 to 50 hours of flight training, landed safely in the field near Tabler Station Road and U.S. 11. He was not injured and the plane wasn't damaged.