BEVERLY (CBS) – A 17-year-old student pilot safely landed a plane in Beverly after losing a wheel Sunday night.
Maggie Taraska is happy to be alive and safe on the ground after the terrifying ordeal in the sky.
“I was really scared and stressed out obviously, if you listen to my conversation with the tower you can tell that pretty clearly,” Maggie said.
The young pilot in training was told her right wheel on her Piper Warrior broke away during take-off on Sunday at Beverly Regional Airport.
This was Maggie’s first solo flight. As part of her training, she was on her way to Portland, Maine when the wheel broke off. Instructor John Singleton says it was important to keep her calm and to make her feel like this was just a normal flight.
“I could hear the stress in her voice,” Singleton said. “And just keep her calm and keep her focused on the flying.”
“It happened really fast,” Maggie said. “I just remembered getting jostled around and it was really bumpy and then hitting grass and then signs and then a taxiway and then more grass, and then I was just thinking it’s going to stop.”
Maggie’s father, who is also a pilot, came rushing over to the airport when he heard something was wrong with his daughter’s plane.
“I saw Maggie coming on her approach, it was a better approach than I could have probably flown and I’ve got more hours than she does,” Walter Taraska said. “She did a wonderful job.”
Right now flying is just a hobby for Maggie, but she hopes to one day go the U.S. Air Force Academy and fly much bigger planes.
“Bad things happen all the time and it can’t deter you from doing what you want to do or doing what you love,” Maggie said.
The FAA is investigating what caused the wheel to come off.