Power failure forced a pilot to make an awkward landing in a paddock in Whanganui's seaside Castlecliff suburb at the weekend.

Police and fire services raced to the emergency just before 11am on Saturday.

So did Castlecliff resident and flying enthusiast Stuart Eddy, who heard "fire engines go howling past".

Plane makes an emergency landing next to Manuka Road at the end of Polson St (Whanganui).
Plane makes an emergency landing next to Manuka Road at the end of Polson St (Whanganui).

He and a neighbour followed them to Manuka St where the small plane had landed in a field and fetched up against a fence.

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The plane was "tangled up" in the fence, but the pilot — Harvey Falloon, a stock and station agent who lives in Westmere — walked away unharmed.

Falloon told Eddy the plane had suffered complete power failure.

"Everything was going good, then all of a sudden the plane just started falling out of the sky."

The plane ends up tangled in a paddock fence after an emergency landing.
The plane ends up tangled in a paddock fence after an emergency landing.

Because of a tailwind, there wasn't enough wind speed over the wings to create lift, and the plane dropped quickly.

"He managed to pull up before hitting the ground, bounced a few times across the paddock and landed up in the fence.

"It was a damn fine piece of flying," Eddy said. "He not only missed all the houses, he managed to land it comparatively safely."

Falloon, who has been flying for about three years, said the plane lost power because of an ignition fault and fell quickly. Landing, it came in too fast and he could not control it.

He said he was lucky to have a long paddock to land in, adding he had been trained for emergencies and did not have time to think much.

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The Civil Aviation Authority will investigate.

No harm was done, Falloon said.

"The plane is all set to go and the fence is fixed. There's not a scratch — only my pride, and that will be back."