Landing a Stricken Plane on a Highway

Over the years I’ve flown in many helicopters and light planes, and for a time I had an ultralight pilot’s licence which I obtained to enable me to fly an Aerochute-powered parachute for a series of outback documentaries we were filming. It was cheaper and more practical than hiring helicopters, and I thought a lot more fun.

I loved flying the Aerochute and after transporting it on the back of a Nissan Patrol tray top ute throughout Northern Australia, we managed to get some fabulous vision which was invaluable to us. Check out the video on their website link above, it really is good fun.

The beauty of the Aerochute was that in the event of an engine failure, I was always flying under an inflated parachute, so it was merely a case of steering the chute to a clear area and landing – hopefully safely. As a part of the training, I had practised these emergency landings but thankfully never had to put it into practice.

However, I often wondered what the emergency procedure is when flying a light plane, for example how much clear land do you need or how hard would it be to land on a highway? Well, mid last month I found out after seeing this news story on American television.

Emergency Landing – Today Show television story July 9th 2022

A former US Marine and currently flight attendant, Vincent Fraser was flying with his father-in-law in North Carolina when the light plane’s engine failed due to fuel starvation. The terrain he was flying over was hilly and very wooded, which left him no alternative but to look for a river and hope for the best, but then out of nowhere the four lane Highway U.S.19 appeared … this is what eventuated and keep an eye out for the power lines.

Vincent Fraser emergency Highway 19 landing

With less than 100 hours flying experience and only obtaining his pilots licence six months ago, Vincent was praised by many for his achievement, but according to him, this is how the incident unfolded.

Vincent Fraser explains emergency landing

Apparently after the incident, Vincent had second thoughts about pursuing his piloting goals, but after the successful landing, along with support from his family and the community only bolstered his resolve.

If you’re wondering how they got the plane out, with the help of the state Sherriff’s Department and Highway Patrol, it wasn’t that difficult.

Vincent Fraser flies out

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