A small, single engined charter plane used by the National Cadet Corps (NCC) for training developed a snag while flying over Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, and had to make an emergency landing right on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway – a busy road that connects cities and towns of Haryana to those of Uttar Pradesh. The 135 km long, 6-lane expressway saw the plane landing on Thursday (24th January 2020) afternoon in the middle of traffic.
However, the pilots of the 2-seater Zenair CH 701, single engined aircraft managed to land the plane on the left-most lane of the expressway, avoiding flying into other vehicles of the road. The dramatic landing followed a snag that the aircraft is said to have developed while flying, and eye-witnesses claim that the aircraft tilted dangerously to one side before making the emergency landing. A villager even remarked that the landing happened in the middle of traffic, and was very scary.
Notably, the left wing of the aircraft was damaged after impact with a crash barrier upon landing. The 2 seater airplane was piloted by two experienced Indian Air Force professionals: a Wing Commander as the pilot and a Group Captain as a co-pilot. The plane took off at Bareilly at 1 PM on Thursday afternoon, and was scheduled to land at the Hindon airbase in Delhi at about 1:45-2:00 PM.
An Indian Air Force official had this to say about the emergency landing,
The 2-seater Zenair CH 701, which is used by NCC for imparting theoretical and practical flying training to its cadets, developed a snag mid-air and started swerving to one side, due to which the pilots had to make a forced landing on EPE near Duhai. The pilots had done a ‘commendable job’ by managing to land the plane on the farthest corner of the expressway in the midst of moving traffic to ensure minimum damage.
Ashish Jain, the project officer of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, had this to say,
The plane had started hovering dangerously mid-air between Dasna and Duhai section of the expressway and within seconds it crash-landed near Sadarpur village. One of the wings of the plane got clipped due to the impact.
This is not the first time that an aircraft has landed onto an Indian highway/expressway. To build emergency operational efficiency, the Indian Air Force has landed its fighter jets on the Agra-Lucknow expressway as a part of training drills. However, that was a planned exercise that was undertaken after closing off traffic on the expressway.