Plane makes emergency landing at Rochester International Airport after engine explodes

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(ABC 6 News) – Thursday afternoon, a private plane was forced to make an emergency landing at the Rochester International Airport after its engine exploded mid-flight.

The private plane’s pilot, Mike Patey, had flown many times and even builds and designs aircrafts.

Patey was traveling from his home in Utah to Oshkosh, Wisc. for an air show.

When Patey and his passenger were about 40 miles from their destination, Patey says he heard what sounded like the plane striking a deer full of TNT and realized he may crash.

Patey’s plane called the Turbulence, was 27,000 feet in the air going 475 miles (412 knots) when he heard the engine blow.

“Everything was smooth, perfect, clear skies, a cloud layer beneath me,” Patey said. “Then just no warning, just a loud explosion.”

His cabin began filling with smoke with oil covering the windshield, after small pieces of metal shot out from the engine.

“The first second that the explosion goes off and the smoke comes in the plane, you got to allow yourself a second for a little startle panic,” Patey said. “Then you take a deep breath and you just focus. You dive right into what fortunately becomes instinctive.”

He says he had about 40 miles to find a runway to land safely. That’s when he radioed the RST Air Traffic Control.

“They asked how many souls were on board. You know, I really wanted to say one. Having that happen and having someone else in the plane, my heart sank. Because its real,” Patey explained.

Surrounded by cloud cover unable to see, Patey did what he was trained to do.

“I would like to circle the field, so keep me tight if you would. I have one shot at this thanks, seven, Mike Mike,” Patey radioed in.

Patey was hoping he could land the plane on one of the runways safely.

First responders were on standby in case a fire started or Patey mislanded.

Gliding into the airport, Patey circled the plane in a downward spiral, unable to make the typical straight decline due to low visibility.

“Thanks for your calm voice and we are safe on the ground. Doesn’t appear to be a fire, we have very little visibility out of the window, but we appreciate your help, thanks,” Patey radioed in.

He and his passenger had their feet on the ground at RST.

“I’m gonna go hug my family, go hug your family and tell them you love them,” Patey said.

Patey and his passenger took a commercial flight back home to Utah. They then drove and made it to the air show in Wisc. on Monday afternoon.

While Patey says it was a scary experience, he is not done flying. He is still working to find out what caused his engine to blow.

He’s grateful to ATC, those at RST and everyone who was ready and waiting for him on the runway.

Patey wants this experience to serve as a reminder for other pilots on the importance of practicing for emergency landing and preparing yourself for any emergency in the sky.

If you are interested in watching Patey’s Youtube channel on the experience, or learn more about his plane re-construction, click here.