A grandmother of five was flying her small plane across the United States when the engine quit in midair, and she was forced to make an emergency landing in a muddy field.

Emma Hanner, 78, was flying her two-seater plane home to Denver from North Carolina when the propeller stopped suddenly west of St. Louis.

"It just quit," said Hanner. "When the propeller on the front of the plane goes around, it keeps the pilot cool. But when it stops, that's when the pilot starts to sweat."

Fortunately, there were plenty of open spaces below her.

As the plane hit the ground, one wheel dipped into an irrigation ditch and buckled underneath the plane. That bent the plane's nose down and spun it around, Hanner said, jolting her forward. A cut below her nose was her only injury.

Hanner said it was her first emergency landing in nearly four decades of flying.

She flies several times a week and planned to have the plane repaired. She plans to return to Missouri and get it, then fly home.

"I love that plane," she said.