Last night a friend's wife was describing her experience as a child being on a flight that encountered a flock of Canadian geese, where at least one engine was lost to a bird strike. I suspect both engines may have been lost, or at least compromised, because she said the plane ultimately landed in a cornfield. She said the oxygen masks deployed, and she used the inflatable slide to deplane.

If her memory is correct the flight departed Indianapolis, IN, bound for Trenton, NJ. Based on her age, we thought the flight was probably in 1996 or 1997. She said it was a "small plane", but it was certainly a commercial flight, and I believe a jet (not a turboprop). She described two seats straddling the aisle.

Her memory of the event emphasized surreal, sensory details, so I suspect some uncertainty among the facts useful for finding this flight.

TL;DR here are the useful details:

  • Probably 1996 or 1997
  • Departed Indianapolis, IN
  • (Update 2.20.2018: She confirms it was Indianapolis International)
  • Intended arrival in Trenton, NJ
  • Engine(s) out, presumably due to bird strikes (Canadian geese)
  • Emergency landing in a field (possibly a cornfield)
  • (Update 2.20.2018: This was a Pennsylvania cornfield)

To my surprise I've been unable to Google more information, so I'm hoping someone here has a better angle on researching this interesting flight.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Are you sure the aircraft ever became airborne? I.e. did it land in a cornfield or could it have been an overrun after an aborted take-off? $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ Enter search terms on NTSB website ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/index.aspx $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ One seat on each side of the aisle would suggest a small turboprop plane like the Beech 1900. Even the small regional jets have a 1-2 layout. And a plane of such size would be low enough to not need to have inflatable slides. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ What about this: CHI971A029. app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/… $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 5:08
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    $\begingroup$ @wbeard52 thanks for staying on the hunt, but I doubt that's it. It might be best to put this question on ice until I can ask her for some more specific details. Honestly, I expected this to result in a quick answer from wiser av researchers like yourself. That it remains a mystery based on the details I was provided has me wondering if the flight as remembered has radical variations from the actual flight. In other words, I'm now fearing it may have gained theatrical embellishments over the years. In hindsight, I probably wasn't expected to turn around and fact-check it haha :) $\endgroup$
    – elrobis
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


From the Los Angeles Times newspaper, Jan. 21, 1989.

BUENA VISTA, Colo. — A commuter plane carrying 26 passengers lost power Friday and made an emergency landing in a cornfield, but no one was injured, authorities said. Airline officials had not determined what caused the engines of the United Express plane, a Convair 580 twin-engine propjet, to shut down.

Here is the link: LA Times

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 for effort...but this seems not to have been it. I texted her and she says it was "late spring, heading into summer". But she did re-confirm it was a small plane, "couldn't have been more than 30 (people)". $\endgroup$
    – elrobis
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 21:57

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