CONCORD -- A pilot safely landed his propeller plane on a grassy field Friday evening on the site of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station after the plane's lone engine malfunctioned, authorities said.
Pilot Felix Boston, 64, of Pleasant Hill, was flying the 1946 Ercoup at about 2,700 feet, about seven miles northeast of the Concord Airport, when the engine cut out shortly after 5:30 p.m., he said.
"It just died," said Boston, an insurance agent who once served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. "I made sure the fuel pump was on and played with the throttle a little," but he couldn't regain power, he said.
Boston brought the plane down safely on a relatively flat slope about 100 feet from Willow Pass Road, sustaining minor damage on the rough landscape but still managing to taxi another 100 feet from his landing spot to a nearby gate.
"You're always thinking when you're flying: Where can I land this thing?" Boston added. He was the lone person aboard the two-seater, and escaped unharmed.
Boston said he still had fuel in the 9-gallon tanks in each wing, so he suspected the fuel pump may have eventually failed.