Friday afternoon, the 26th, a twin-engine Piper Aztec landed on Interstate 75 just south of Tampa. There was a great photo in the newspaper but they didn't put online, apparently.
The engines failed, and, being in a rather densely developed area, the pilots determined that the only safe place to land was on I-75. They picked the northbound lanes. (Did they check the winds first, or was traffic just lighter in that direction?)
Here's a follow-up article. The plane was eventually towed out of the median, to which the pilot had taxied after landing. I love the quote:
As it worked out, people were paying attention and they got out of the way.Funny but the truth is most pilots have wondered about that at some point in their career. If I had to put this thing down on the only landable surface for miles around--and that happened to be the highway--would people notice and make room? Would they just drive along blindly and not pay attention? Could I taxi fast enough not to get rear-ended? Does the aircraft insurance cover being rear-ended on the highway by an SUV, or is that something my auto insurance has to take care of?
So many questions. And yet this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Six years ago in Pasco County, just north of the Hillsborough County line and not but forty miles from the recent incident, another small airplane landed on I-75, this time in the southbound lanes, and then took off again. I'd like to have seen that. Seems nobody knows who owned the plane or why it touched down. I'd have to guess it was some sort of wager.