It was too late to turn back — “the weather had just come in behind us,” Doyle said — and he couldn’t reach another airport. He chose a field for an emergency landing.
A set of power lines forced Doyle to keep his altitude high, then drop the nose fast.
“I had so much speed, the plane went airborne again,” he said.
He touched down with about 400 feet left in the field. The plane bounced off a hump, shot up and clipped the top of a barbed wire fence before sliding up a hill.
“After it cleared the fence, I kept it pitched up,” Doyle said. “The hill was so steep.”
The nose and landing gear sustained extensive damage, but Doyle and Shinkins walked away. The crash occurred at 11:25 a.m. near Elk Creek, Va.
“It’s mountainous terrain and with the weather conditions, he’s very fortunate he didn’t crash into the side of a mountain,” said First Sgt. Mike Musser of the Virginia State Police.
Doyle, 37, said he remained fairly calm “while everything was going on,” but the emotion poured out afterward.
“My wife and I feel thrilled to be alive,” he said.
In her latest blog post, titled “Luckiest Couple Alive,” Shinkins offered thanks to residents of the rural area they landed in.
“We could never thank this small community enough for how fast they got to us and how they opened up their homes without any hesitation,” she wrote.