Watch: Video shows newbie pilot make a daring emergency landing on highway

How cool is that?
Ameya Paleja
The aircraft nearing its landing spot on Highway 19Vincent Fraser/YouTube

Vincent Fraser received his private pilot's license only in October 2021. Even before he could celebrate the first anniversary of this achievement, he had to carry out one of the most challenging maneuvers in aviation - an emergency landing on a highway, NBC News reported

In the past, we have brought to you footage of some commercial airliners making emergency landings. While these are commendable feats, the pilots have hundreds of hours of flying experience and have been trained to execute these maneuvers. 

However, Fraser flew for very little time, with fewer than 100 hours of cockpit experience. To make matters worse, he wasn't flying alone but had his father-in-law alongside him in the aircraft. 

The aircraft

Fraser was flying the 1967 variant of the Aero Commander 100. Also known as the Volaire 1050, the Aero Commander is a single-pilot aircraft that can seat up to three passengers and cruise at 128 mph (206 kph). With a fuel capacity of 44 US gallons (166.5 L), the Aero Commander has a range of 510 miles (820 km) and a service ceiling of 13,000 feet (4,000 m). 

The aircraft is powered by the single Lycoming O-320-A, an air-cooled engine that generates 150 hp (110 kW) and has fixed tricycle landing gear. 

The course of events of the day

A resident of Cape Coral in Floria, Fraser took his father-in-law as a Father's Day gift. The duo flew to the outskirts of Bryson City to observe some property Fraser had recently bought from the sky. It was during their return from the surveillance that things went south suddenly. 

Speaking to NBC News, Fraser said that the single-engine of the aircraft failed. Fraser was looking to fly up, and while the aircraft ascended for a while, a little later, it started sinking.

Realizing something was wrong, Fraser told his father-in-law to look for a place to land the aircraft while he tried to restart the aircraft. The duo was flying at 5,000 feet (1,524 m), but the aircraft quickly dropped altitude and was at 1,000 feet (~305 m) when Fraser knew that he had no way out but to carry out an emergency landing. 

Fraser spotted a bridge, but it was busy with traffic and too narrow for his comfort, and landing on it could have ended up killing someone. Another alternate was a nearby river, and that's where Fraser was headed when he saw Highway 19 and made the landing captured in the clip above and posted to YouTube. 

YouTubers heaped praise on Fraser's skills, who also avoided power lines on his way to the road and dodged the incoming vehicles while landing on the strip as the highway curved. 

NBC News also reported that following the landing, the aircraft was towed to a nearby shop for repairs, and after three days, part of the highway was shut down to allow the aircraft to take off again, which Fraser uploaded to his YouTube channel as well. 

This time though, Fraser flew the aircraft to the nearest airport and took a commercial flight to Florida. 

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