July 20, 2017 – Fond du Lac County, WI – Two Washington state men landed their small plane safely at the Fond du Lac County Airport after battling strong head winds from a thunderstorm and a quickly depleting fuel supply.
Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Captain Ryan Waldschmidt said the County Communications Center got a call from an air traffic control center Wednesday night about the plane and the problems it was having.
Sheriff’s deputies, the Wisconsin State Patrol and Fond du Lac Fire Department responded to the airport.
Waldschmidt said the pilot indicated he had less than five gallons of fuel, which was quickly being exhausted battling the buffeting winds. Waldschmidt said the head winds were 50 miles an hour or greater, which caused the pilot to burn through the fuel faster than normal.
After circling the airport five or six times the pilot managed to land safely. Waldschmidt said because of the rain, the thunderstorms and the head wind it was difficult for the pilot to control the plane at low altitude and see the runway.
The pilot also reportedly lost contact with air traffic control during the final stretch of the flight.
The 75-year-old pilot Mark Thompson told deputies he was flying to the Dodge County Airport in Juneau with plans to attend EAA AirVenture next week in Oshkosh.
His passenger was 54-year-old Mike Radisch.
No one was injured in the incident, and the aircraft, a single-engine 1968 Cessna 177, was not damaged.