Candidate wished for none of this free publicity

Max Linn calls his plane landing on I-4 scary.

Published October 18, 2006

So, Max Linn, was it all just a political stunt?

No way, gubernatorial candidate Linn said Tuesday about landing a private plane on Interstate 4 last week.

"It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life."

Linn, a Reform Party candidate who has been struggling for recognition in an election dominated by Charlie Crist and Jim Davis, had rented the single-engine Cessna 172 at Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg. His Cessna 182 was in for maintenance.

On the way to Orlando Executive Airport, the engine of the rented plane sputtered, and he couldn't increase the plane's power. He thought about the plane that crashed into a New York City building recently.

Linn said he had to make a decision: Fly past downtown Orlando to the airport or set down right then and there on I-4.

He chose the latter.

"Let me put you in a plane and you lose your engine over downtown Orlando," he said. "There's no place to land and there are overpasses and traffic and cement buildings. ... I thought the best decision was to get the aircraft under control."

Linn resumed flying Monday in his own plane, which has been fixed, heading to campaign spots in Ocala and Merritt Island.