A new pilot in North Carolina recently made quite the emergency landing on a fairly busy highway, and it was happily (for us) all caught on camera. You’re not going to believe the skill it took this pilot to maneuver on a thin strip of asphalt.
Vincent Fraser was flying his single-engine plane with his father-in-law on July 3 above Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to The Washington Post. Everything was going normally until Fraser realized he could no longer climb. Soon after that, the engine of his 1967 Aero Commander 100 stopped entirely, stranding him powerless at 5,500 feet in the air.
The engine couldn’t be restarted permanently, so he turned to his father-in-law and said they needed to find a place to land.
Check out the video below. Wild shit.
Fraser threaded the needle and landed between cars on the highway. All the while he was dodging electrical wires and trees that lined the road. Not bad for a pilot with only 100 hours of experience.
As it turns out, fuel from one of the wings stopped flowing to the engine, which caused it to fail. From the Washington Post:
“He kind of just looked at me and kind of laughed because he thought I was messing with him,” Fraser said, “and he was just in disbelief.”
Fraser’s quick thinking over the next 2½ minutes led to a safe touchdown on a highway without a scratch. As of Tuesday morning, a video of his unlikely landing had nearly 900,000 views on Facebook.
“What an OUTSTANDING job and no injuries,” Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran wrote in the caption. “There were so many things that could have been catastrophic but they didn’t happen.”
Fraser has spent most of his life around planes. He joined the Marine Corps and maintained fighter jet weapons before his honorable discharge in 2015. For the past four years, he’s been a flight attendant with Allegiant Air. In October of 2021, he got his private pilot’s license and bought the very airplane he landed on the highway. So, he’s been around the block when it comes to planes. But he’s still not exactly a pro at flying them.
The Commander 100 eventually came to a stop right in front of a stop sign.
“My objective was to get [my father-in-law] on the ground alive, not kill anybody,” he said. “… And I did it.”
According to the Post, as soon as his plane is fixed, he’s heading back up into the air.