THE BRONX - The National Transportation Safety Board is hoping to file a preliminary report within the next 10 days regarding the remarkable landing of a small aircraft on the Major Deegan Saturday afternoon.

Michael Schwartz, 50, of South Salem, is being hailed as a hero after he landed a Piper aircraft on the northbound side of the highway in the Bronx near East 233rd Street. Schwartz and two female passengers were wrapping up a sightseeing tour of the Statue of Liberty and en route to Danbury, Conn. when the plane malfunctioned.

Department of Transportation worker Miguel Lopez was fixing potholes on the Major Deegan when he spotted the low-flying plane. Workers quickly halted traffic in an effort to give the plane a place to land.

All three onboard the plane survived the hard landing without injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration lists Schwartz, an account executive, as a student pilot who received his license last spring.

Authorities are expected to scrutinize every inch of the plane to determine what caused the failure that forced the landing. Aviation experts say Schwartz acted accordingly while in an extremely tense and dangerous situation.

Schwartz has not yet made a public statement about the incident.