Small plane lands on Pennsylvania expressway

Published On: Aug 07 2013 08:58:19 AM HST

A pilot and his passenger shared a celebratory hug Tuesday morning after they successfully made an emergency landing on a Washington County highway.

The landing happened on Route 43, near the Brownsville exit. 

Pilot Brian Nicholson told Channel 4 Action News' Marcie Cipriani they were flying in a 1946 Stinson from Rostraver, Westmoreland County, to Waynesburg, Greene County, when the plane started to shake.

"We were at 3,000 feet and the engine started to vibrate really violently and I lost the power," he said.

They radioed to make an emergency landing on the highway, circling around to avoid power lines and traffic.

"I hit the emergency channel on my radio and called them and told them I was going down and I was going to be on a highway somewhere," said Nicholson.

So what was going through his mind at the time?

"I hope this is going to turn out well. I don't want to hurt anybody. I don't want to hurt anything. I don't want to be hurt myself, please let me get to the ground," he told Cipriani.

Nicholson said they landed the small plane between a tractor-trailer and a car.

"I did have traffic at the time and stuff like that, so there was a lot going on in that little bit of time to be able to get this airplane down," he said.

"We were avoiding the power lines and the blue pole with the exit signs on it," said passenger John Armel, who is also a pilot. "(Nicholson) did an excellent job."

Nicholson said he's waiting to get a new propeller, and if the FAA gives him the OK to fly, they'll continue on to Waynesburg.

"You can see a chunk of metal just ripped off the propeller," he said.


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