Fog Forces Helicopter to Land in Cooper City Strip Mall Parking Lot - NBC 6 South Florida

Fog Forces Helicopter to Land in Cooper City Strip Mall Parking Lot

Chopper pilot forced to land in middle of parking lot

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Helicopter Lands in Strip Mall Parking Lot

    Chopper pilot forced to land in middle of parking lot. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012)

    A helicopter pilot was forced to land in the middle of a Cooper City strip mall parking lot early Wednesday after heavy fog blocked his visibility.

    Paul Appleton was piloting his Robinson R- 22 helicopter with his passenger, Javier Romera, when they were forced to do a precautionary landing at the parking lot in the 5800 block of South Flamingo Road due to the heavy fog.

    Appleton and Romera, a Spaniard who also has his pilot's license, had taken a ride over South Beach and Government Cut. They stopped at Tamiami Executive Airport for gas, took off around 12:10 a.m. and were headed back to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport when the clouds got too close for comfort.

    "You can get into trouble in a second," Appleton said of his decision to land in the parking lot.

    They landed without incident and waited for fog to clear up before they left the parking lot around 8 a.m.  to make their way to the airport, which is about 13 and a half miles from the strip mall.

    The incident wasn't Appleton's first run-in with problems in the air. Two years ago, on Super Bowl Sunday, he was flying over SunLife Stadium when a turkey vulture flew into his windshield. He landed and the bird flew off leaving him with just a scratch.

    Appleton, a Cleveland firefighter and snowbird, said he has been flying since 1999 and added he is "lucky in unlucky situations."