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Okla. Sen. Makes Emergency Landing

May 9, 1999

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) _ Sen. Jim Inhofe, a pilot for 41 years, made an emergency landing early Saturday after the propeller fell off his airplane.

Inhofe, R-Okla., was not injured, but his single-engine airplane was slightly damaged, said press secretary Danny Finnerty. Inhofe was alone in the aircraft.

Inhofe said he glided for about eight miles before landing the plane at Claremore Airport. He said he took off from Ketchum, where he keeps his 1979 Grumman Tiger, and had been in the air about 10 minutes when trouble began.

``I noticed a vibration,″ he said, then heard a pop as the propeller dropped off.

The plane became tail heavy and he knew it would be difficult landing, he said. ``I wasn’t sure I could make it,″ he said.

Inhofe, an experienced, commercially rated pilot, was en route from northeastern Oklahoma to Oklahoma City, where he was to meet President, who was touring tornado-ravaged parts of central Oklahoma.

Finnerty said the FBI has been asked to investigate because ``propellers don’t just fly off airplanes every day.″

The propeller was found on a county road about four miles from the airport by G.W. Curtis, who graduated from Central High School in Tulsa with Inhofe. Curtis returned the propeller to Inhofe at the airport.

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