Pilot Of Crash-Landed Plane Convicted Drug Smuggler

Days after a mystery plane crash-landed in East Nashville, the pilot finally came forward

Source: WTVF Newschannel 5

Nashville, Tenn. -- Days after a mystery plane crash-landed in East Nashville, the pilot finally came forward.

It was a discovery that left metro police puzzled on Sunday, who crash-landed a 1961 Beechcraft plane in an abandoned air field and never came back to claim it?

74 Year old Russell Brothers Junior said he had no working radio, no landing gear and was running out of fuel Friday night. So he went to an air field he's landed in thousands of times at Cornelia Fort Park and used the lights from Opryland to guide him down safely.

Brothers said, "Coming on in to Dickson I got into a landing pattern and put my wheels down but my wheels didn't come down."

With no wheels Brothers knew the plane on pavement could be deadly. He said, "When you land on pavement with metal you are going to have sparks and I was afraid of a ruptured fuel tank and we'd have a big fire."

So Brothers thought of the softest landing spot in town, the grass runway on the now closed Cornelia Fort Air Park. Empty and pitch black Friday he used the distant lights from OpryLand to guide him down.

Brother said, "Opryland is just on the other side of the river and I have been flying in and out of there for 55 years."

But it's not this 74 year old's first time dancing with danger in the skies.

Brothers spent 11 years in federal prison, convicted of smuggling cocaine into the US from the Bahamas.

On Sunday, drug sniffing dogs searched his abandoned Beechcraft but found nothing illegal.

Just a case of a pilot who made a lucky landing, walked out of the crash and into a car with his wife for one more second chance.

Brothers said, "When I told my wife that she fussed at me and said you shouldhave been praying and I said I already did pray and I knew the lord was with me on my landing."

The plane is still at Cornelia Fort Air Park. The only way to get it out of there is to take the wings off and break it into pieces or repair it.

Something that Brothers said he can't afford to do right now.

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