In 1983, a Mexican private jet made an emergency landing in Mallow, Ireland and had to stay for five weeks so a runway could be built, during which time the pilot became a local celeb.
The nearest airports to Mallow are in Cork, which is 42 kilometers away and Shannon Airport, which is 59 kilometers away. There is also a flying club nearby in a town called Rathcoole and a Helicopter Charter Company in Dromahane.
In 1983, though, the Mallow Racecourse, now known as Cork Racecourse, became an emergency landing strip for a Mexican private jet. The Mexican Gulfstream II business jet was piloted by Captain Reuben Ocana who said he needed to make a cautionary landing.
A temporary tarmac runway was built within five weeks of the emergency landing, so that it could leave. The strip was 3,000 feet long and paid for by the jet’s insurers. In the mean time, Captain Ocana became a local celebrity. Just before the plane left Mallow, the Captain said his goodbye to the people of Ireland in the Irish language.
He left a big impression that forever endeared himself to the nation. The runway was subsequently utilized for parking during race meets and was a popular place for learning to drive.
Light aircrafts have occasionally landed at the racecourse on the grass area. The F3A World Model Aircraft Aerobatic Championship was held there in 2001.