Emergency plane landing

Plane Safely Makes Emergency Landing Just to Be Hit By SUV Moments Later

Ever been thankful for narrowly escaping a crazy situation to then immediately have another one right on your doorstep? That’s exactly what happened when this airplane made an emergency landing on a U.S. highway. 

Keep reading to learn more about the plane, the SUV, and the happenings behind this rare collision.

Why Did a Plane Make an Emergency Landing on US 95?

When in a car, if you’re experiencing any kind of mechanical issues, you simply pull over onto the side of the road. However, if you’re flying a plane and experiencing mechanical issues, it’s a bit more complicated than pulling over. You actually have to land the plane.

That’s exactly what happened in this emergency. The pilot was experiencing mechanical issues and had to land. Not having a landing field nearby, the left shoulder of U.S. Highway 95 in the Northwest Valley in Nevada became his landing field.

Emergency plane landing

What Kind of Plane Made the Emergency Landing?

Thankfully the plane that made the emergency landing wasn’t a commercial jet. It was a two-seater, giving it adequate space for a safe landing. This DA20 two-seater airplane is built for space, speed, and style. 

And while that may be the case, unfortunately, on this specific flight, there were some issues that became apparent mid-flight, resulting in the need for an emergency landing.

Emergency landings are always scary! Read more about this Small Plane That Had To Make An Emergency Landing on Route 66 After Engine Failure.

What Happened Once the Plane Landed? 

Once the DA-20 landed safely on the highway, the pilot and the co-pilot – the only two onboard – exited the aircraft and stood behind the right wing to assess the situation. A few minutes later, a Nissan SUV collided with the plane’s left wing. This resulted in the right wing shifting and hitting both pilots.

Other vehicles had passed the landed plane before the SUV’s collision with the wing, so there’s uncertainty as to why the SUV hit the plane when other vehicles didn’t. Regardless, the collision damaged the Nissan’s windshield and injured the driver and one of the pilots. However, no injuries were life-threatening.

Plane crash from emergency landing

How Common Are Emergency Plane Landings? 

Emergency landings in combination with a vehicle collision are extremely rare. They are, in general, not everyday events. And while rare, the most common emergency landings don’t involve plane equipment. Many emergency landings involve diverting or making an unplanned landing if a passenger is sick and needs immediate medical treatment. 

Another common emergency landing is preventative. An example would be warnings about possible issues with landing gear or radios that aren’t working properly. Those non-emergencies still require a plane to either turn around or divert to an unplanned landing area.

Types of Emergency Landings

True emergency landings are in three categories called off-airport landings: precautionary, forced, and ditching. Precautionary landings involve possible engine problems in anticipation of an actual emergency. Forced landings occur when the plane engine is dead. Ditching is an emergency landing that involves landing in water.

Off-airport landings are quite rare. Blue Sky News, a publication for Pittsburgh International Airport, states, “In 2018, the last year for which global statistics are available, the International Civil Aviation Organization reported an accident rate of 2.6 accidents per 1 million departures for scheduled commercial operations.”

Small planes might have a few more incidents and emergency landings compared to commercial flights. However, injuries and fatalities remain rare, especially considering how many flights take off and land in a day worldwide.

Plane making emergency landing

Where Is the Hardest Place to Land a Plane? 

No emergency landing is easy, but the hardest place to land a plane is in water. Ditching a plane is the most dangerous emergency landing resulting in a fatality rate of 20%, the highest rate in all the types of emergency landings. The pilot must take into account the type of water, the people in the area, and the temperature of the water. They must do all of this in seconds. 

If landing in rough surf, it could overturn the plane, trapping passengers inside. If landing on calm waters, those still may be freezing temps, resulting in hypothermia. It’s one of the leading causes of death in airplanes landing on water. Looking for a beach landing is best. However, beaches are commonly full of people.

If a pilot lands in water and can land away from rough waters with boats nearby, this is the ideal situation. The boats can help with rescue as needed, and the chance of the plane overturning is less likely.

Love planes? Find out Can You Live in an Airplane?

Why Do Pilots Say Mayday When Making an Emergency Landing?

No matter the type of emergency or landing, when an emergency occurs, the pilot will start communications about the situation with the word “Mayday.”

They will then repeat mayday two more times (a total of three times), followed by other information necessary to the situation at hand. This is an immediate notification to other pilots and air traffic controllers that there’s a possible emergency.

While you’ve heard the word, do you know why pilots use it and where it came from? Mayday originated from the French word “m’aider,” meaning help me. This term became popular and widely used in the 1920s when a radio officer was asked to come up with a word that indicated stress, but would also be understood worldwide by anyone. 

It became the official distress signal for aircraft when the International Radiotelegraph Convention accepted it in 1927.

Are Small Aircrafts Safe?

Today, many use Mayday as the international call for help in aircraft and many other situations. That, combined with the many safety features and gear mandated on airplanes via countries across the globe, makes flying relatively safe. However, as with any activity, safety is never guaranteed. 

But the chances of you in a two-seater airplane on a highway instead of in the air, colliding with a vehicle are pretty rare. Set your worries aside. The next time you have an opportunity to hop in an airplane for a ride of a lifetime, statistically speaking, it won’t be your last ride. But it will be unforgettable.

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Don’t rely on biased RV industry news sources to keep you informed. Stick with Nomadic News. We publish articles and breaking stories that matter to you every weekday.

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