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Plane makes daring highway landing

california highway median california highway patrol

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#1 Hum

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 15:09

ROCKLIN, Calif. (AP) — A small plane has made an emergency landing in traffic on a highway median in the Sacramento area.

The California Highway Patrol says the aircraft landed safely Wednesday morning on a grassy center divide of Highway 65 near Rocklin as cars whizzed by. No injuries were reported.

Pilot John Mares says he was testing a new engine on the Beech BE35-33A when it lost power at about 3,500 feet, leaving him with no choice but to find a place to land.

A mechanic was on scene to see if the fuel pump failed. The highway remained open although traffic slowed down to see the plane.

The FAA says an inspector is on the scene. The CHP will close the northbound lane if the plane is cleared to take off.

source


#2 Javik

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 15:16

They say daring, I say dangerous. The same thing happened with Southern Airways 242 after surging caused both of it's engines to fail and the landing killed 9 people on the ground.

#3 Stetson

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 15:20

They say daring, I say dangerous. The same thing happened with Southern Airways 242 after surging caused both of it's engines to fail and the landing killed 9 people on the ground.


So what would the alternative have been? You can't not land the plane. The least risky scenario may still have a ton of risk, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the wrong choice.

#4 Javik

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 15:24

In an open field, on water. Both give you about the same level of casualties on the plane, with much smaller risk to people on the ground.

#5 +chconline

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 15:40

In an open field, on water. Both give you about the same level of casualties on the plane, with much smaller risk to people on the ground.


Landing on the highway is the correct procedure for emergency landing when a runway is not available. An open field is a lower tiered choice, because of the amount of variables you're going to face (trees, ground conditions, surface quality, etc). Suggesting to ditch in water is just stupid, because it is really hard to execute a good landing -- direction of the waves, angle of the plane, etc. Ditching in water is practically the LAST resort.

#6 ILikeTobacco

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 15:50

In an open field, on water. Both give you about the same level of casualties on the plane, with much smaller risk to people on the ground.

Since when is it legal to drive on the median of a highway? You know, the part that splits the opposing sides that is usually made of grass, such as the one this guy landed on. If anyone got hit on the median, its their own fault for driving where it is illegal to drive...

#7 Ryoken

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 00:21

In an open field, on water. Both give you about the same level of casualties on the plane, with much smaller risk to people on the ground.

Water Landings are the most dangerous, and rarely yield survivors. Field and such would also be a very bad idea, for a small plane that isn't designed for off-tarmac landings, cause it'll just dig in and flip.

They are supposed to land on the highway, it is historically the safest course of action, and while sometimes people on the ground die, numbers wise it's most always the safest course of action.

#8 Growled

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:11

He is definitely a decent pilot.

#9 -Razorfold

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:54

Field and such would also be a very bad idea, for a small plane that isn't designed for off-tarmac landings, cause it'll just dig in and flip.

Not really. Pilots are trained in soft-field (aka non-tarmac) landings. Many won't actually practice them since insurance companies don't like it, but the principle is the same. Basically you keep the nose wheel off the ground for as long as you possibly can and just it slowly come down.

The real problem isn't the field, its potential ditches. If you land and your wheels hit a ditch before you've slowed down enough you will flip the plane. My instructor lost his engine on climbout and had to make an emergency landing in a field, he landed perfectly and was slowing down when he hit a ditch and flipped the plane. Thankfully he was only going 10-20 knots so nobody was injured (plane was damaged), if he was going like 50-60 he'd be dead.

#10 remixedcat

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:50

Warning:Intense AVGN stuff....


#11 Simon-

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:45

They say daring, I say dangerous. The same thing happened with Southern Airways 242 after surging caused both of it's engines to fail and the landing killed 9 people on the ground.


If you look at the video, you can see that he landed on a fairly wide median that was a well curated turf. By not landing on the road itself he avoided any potential traffic.

Pretty cool that after he gets his fuel pump fixed, the FAA will clear him and he will get to take off from the highway as well. He needs to get a better mechanic next time who will make sure that the new engine/fuel pump won't fail in the air, as he might not be so lucky to have such a good landing place next time.