A 17-year-old pilot from Gloucester lost a wheel on her first solo flight. Then she landed the plane.

BEVERLY, Mass. (AP) — The a 17-year-old student pilot from Massachusetts who successfully made an emergency landing after losing a wheel during her first solo flight plans to return to the cockpit soon.

Maggie Taraska, a high school senior from Gloucester, said Monday she was “scared” and “stressed” when she learned she had lost a wheel after takeoff from Beverly Regional Airport on Sunday.

She pulled herself together, and with help from instructor John Singleton on the ground, landed without a scratch although the single-engine Piper PA28 suffered significant damage.

After the plane came to a bumpy halt on the grass, she got out into the waiting arms of her father, Walt.


Singleton said some pilots with more experience than Maggie would have panicked, but she remained calm and “did it by the book.”

Maggie Taraska talks to reporters at a Monday press conference, as her father, Walter, mother, Christine, and sister, Ellie, 18, look on. —Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe
Flight instructor John Singleton. —Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe