Police are lauding the quick thinking of pilot who carried out an emergency landing on the hills above Ocean View, near Dunedin, today.

Emergency services were called to a reported crash of the replica World War I German fighter plane near the oceanside community about 10.54am.

Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said the plane lost power and the pilot was forced into an emergency landing on farmland.

"Overall, he's done pretty well to put it down there successfully and walk away," Mr Benn said.

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The pilot is believed to be in his 80s, but police could not confirm this. He was shaken but unhurt.

It appeared the man had gone through a fence before ploughing into a small flat on the steep ridge above Brighton Rd.

No one else was on board the aircraft which has damage to the undercarriage.

Brighton Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Ian Armstrong said the plane coughed and spluttered before landing.

Fire Service, ambulance and police attended. The Civil Aviation Authority has been advised of the crash.