In 1983 a Mexican pilot crashed landed in a small town in Ireland and the whole town came together to build a temporary runway for him to take off again and continue his flight.

Surprise jet arrival left lasting legacy in town

THE ground was still damp from a slight overnight frost when Captain Ruben Ocana stepped out of the Gulfstream II executive jet he had landed a short time earlier on the five furlong straight at Mallow Racecourse.

“I will be out of here once the ground dries out,” he told me, but, of course, that was not the way it worked out.

He and his crew were stranded in the town for 39 days as a runway was laid to get the 15-seat luxury jet airborne again.

As the days and weeks passed, I got to know Captain Ocana well. We talked about aviation and military history and shared stories about the cultural differences of his native Mexico and Ireland. It was a friendship that continued to the day he died.

He was well versed in the Irish men… Continue Reading (6 minute read)

7 thoughts on “In 1983 a Mexican pilot crashed landed in a small town in Ireland and the whole town came together to build a temporary runway for him to take off again and continue his flight.”

  1. xHazzardHawkx

    Sounds like it should have been one of those little cute, independent movies from the 90’s. The pilot falls in love with an Irish widow, and flies off with him in the end.

  2. AllISaidWasJehovah

    This happened quite close to where I grew up. The captain was *very* popular and “minor celebrity” is about right.

    This story features in the popular Irish TV show Reeling in the Years. Unfortunately that episode isn’t available online due to a copyright claim.

  3. squ1bs

    I was allowed into the cockpit to look around, because my buddy’s dad was a police officer working crowd control. I was 11. Good times. The location is just 2 miles from my house today.

  4. PrototypeRdt

    Sounds like the movie Cars but with wings

  5. intentsman

    It was that, or let him stay.

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