A small plane made an emergency landing on State Road 16 at the Bradford-Union county line Monday afternoon.
The pilot, George Charles Momberg, landed around 5 p.m. without incident after running low on fuel. He was on his way to Herlong Field in Jacksonville, Fla. No cars were nearby and no one was injured, according to Brad Whitehead, Union County Sheriff.
“I landed the airplane as a precautionary measure because I didn’t think I was going to have enough fuel to get from where I was to my home base at Herlong,” Momberg, 83, said. “No crash landing, no dramatic stuff.”
Momberg bought the 1946 Ercoupe 415C plane in Minneapolis last week and was flying it home to Jacksonville. The plane, which Momberg said burns about five-and-a-half gallons of gas in an hour, had last fueled up in Alabama before touching down on State Road 16, just down the road from the Florida State Prison.
Momberg took off for Jacksonville from the same road on Tuesday morning, March 25.
“Fuel was brought in, FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) checked out everything, approved the plane for flight, approved the pilot for flight, we blocked traffic on State Road 16 and let the plane take off,” Captain James York from the Union County Sheriff’s Office, said.
Momberg, who trained in the military from 1956 to 1959, previously managed the Herlong Recreational Airport and an operation at Craig Airport in Jacksonville during the late ’60s and early ’70s before getting out of aviation around 1975.
After losing his wife in May, Momberg said he decided he needed something to keep him occupied and decided to buy a little airplane.
“I got back in the air, and I love it,” Momberg said. “It’s like riding a bicycle, you don’t really forget it.”