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Pilot, Wife Use IPad To Crash-land Plane At Regional Airport

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A pilot and his wife used their iPads to fly about 80 miles in the dark and land safely without landing gear at the Rapid City Regional Airport after the electrical systems failed, compromising their single-engine plane.

The couple, whose names have not been released, were flying to Wisconsin from Wyoming Friday night when their single-engine propeller plane had a full electrical-system failure about 80 miles from Rapid City, said Oliver White, a spokesman with the Rapid City Fire Department. Neither passenger was hurt, but the plane was damaged on landing.

After their electrical systems went out, the husband and wife used their iPads to navigate to the regional airport, White said. The only instruments they had available were airspeed and altitude indicators.

“He had to be a super good pilot,” said Department Battalion Chief Tim Daly.

The couple was not able to alert traffic controllers that they were entering Rapid City airspace and, without landing gear, the pilot landed the plane on its belly on a less-used runway. The plane skidded to a stop and officials say sparks were shooting from the bottom of the fuselage.

Officials have to investigate the impromptu landing, and it will likely be awhile before the plane is flying again, White said.