FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida pilot and his girlfriend said an emergency landing in Flagler County that sent them into the path of danger, Sunday night, was a life-changing experience in more ways than one.
Thirty-five-year-old Stevan Locki faced the moment every pilot trains for: putting a disabled plane down safely. “I did my job, got in the zone, and just focused on flying,” he said.
About 30 seconds after takeoff from Flagler County Airport, Locki said, his small plane experienced engine failure. “We lost power, like, the engine shut off right after that,” he said.
Sitting in the co-pilot seat was Locki’s girlfriend, Brandi Bishop. “He called the tower and said, ‘We need to turn around and come back,’ and in my head I’m thinking, ‘I don’t want to go back. I want to go home,'” she said.
Hamilton, Bishop’s dog, was sitting in the back of the aircraft.
This was Bishop’s first flight with her boyfriend, who used to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard. “He said, ‘Well, honey, I think we’re gonna be on the news tonight,'” she said.
“At first, I started looking for places to land,” said Locki.
Bishop wiped away tears as she described the tense moments. “Yeah, it was really, really scary,” she said.
At the time, Locki was flying right below State Road 100, located just a few blocks from the beach. “I just established a glide, put down a landing gear,” he said.
“I was worried about the traffic light,” said Bishop, “and I said, ‘Don’t hit the traffic light! Don’t hit the traffic light!’ Well, he just went right over it, right smooth down under the power lines, smooth as ever.”
But it wasn’t until after the ordeal was over that Locki was about to prove just how smooth he is.
The plane landed safely, but as it touched down, the couple realized that it was actually on fire.
Bishop said her legs felt like Jell-O, but none of the three occupants in the aircraft were hurt.
Shortly after, a witness had words of advice for her.
“[The witness said], ‘If he doesn’t marry you after this, there’s something wrong with that boy,'” she said.
Those words turned out to be prophetic. “When we were in the fire truck, a couple of hours later, he looked at me and said, ‘Well, you know what? I wanna marry you. Will you marry me?’ And I said yes,” said Bishop.
Locki is pretty cool about the whole thing. “I thought, ‘All right, we’ve got this.’ It was just like landing on a runway,” he said.
But it’s clear the couple’s real adventure is about to begin.
Bishop herself served in the U.S. Air Force, so it’s likely she’s going up in the air with her now-fiancé once again.
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