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Landing On The Motorway / Highway?  
User currently offlineRichM From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 798 posts, RR: 7
Posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5493 times:

I was just wondering, in the event of an emergency situation where an airline pilot had to perform an emergency landing but was unable to land at an airport, would they consider landing on a motorway / highway? Or are they told to land in fields?

Pros: Sturdy ground = less chance of aircraft breakup.
Cons: Traffic = Unexpected large object appearing in peoples rear view mirror.

- Rich

[Edited 2006-05-16 01:43:01]

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLevg79 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5490 times:

Have you seen this?

http://www.405themovie.com/view.asp

Leo.



A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9489 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5478 times:

I don't know what a commercial pilot would do, but a small plane pilot would probably land on a highway. I have heard of it done when there was an engine failure. Roads are ok choices, but there are problems with cars. Additionally roads often have telephone poles and other hazards on their sides. A clean field or golf course are better options. There are however plenty of documented cases of single engine planes landing on highways and roads all over the world due to engine failures. Almost any pilot should be able to put a plane down on a highway.

In reality, commercial jets almost never have to perform emergency landings outside of airports. The last one I can think of was when a TACA jet landed on a levy on the Gulf Coast when it ran out of fuel. I can also think of the Air Canada 767-200 that landed at a closed airport after running out of fuel as well.

With multiengine planes, the chances of having to land anywhere other than a runway is low. Also with the altitude that commercial jets have, they can glide an awfully long way in search of a good place to land.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineVisakow From United States of America, joined May 2006, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5445 times:

This is not faked from what I know.

Big version: Width: 200 Height: 150 File size: 14kb


User currently offlineRichM From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 798 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5437 times:

Quoting Visakow (Reply 3):
This is not faked from what I know.


Lol, thanks for that. I guess if that happened whilst I was on the road, I'd be the only motorist NOT moaning. Big grin


User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8193 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5430 times:

It's not advisable, in any type of aircraft. Even us private pilots are told to only use highways/roads when we're absolutely out of other options.


This Website Censors Me
User currently offlineRolfen From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 1800 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5430 times:

The problem with jet airliners is that they land at a speed faster then most cars can travel, which means that they will hit many cars from the back in such an event.


rolf
User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5397 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5416 times:

Next time you drive down a road, count how many power or comms lines cross the road (that are near impossible to be seen from the air). For a small aircraft you're much better off landing in a field.

As for airliners ... very small chance of having to land off airport.

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8047 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5339 times:

No way! Telegraph poles will rip the wings off and the plane will blow up. It's only been tried once, a DC9 that lost both engines in a downpour landed on a road and pretty much everyone died - 62 out of 85 - plus 8 on the ground. A complete disaster. Telegraph poles, cars, trucks, petrol stations, power lines. Not a great scenario.


fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineLitz From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1754 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5270 times:
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Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 8):
No way! Telegraph poles will rip the wings off and the plane will blow up. It's only been tried once, a DC9 that lost both engines in a downpour landed on a road and pretty much everyone died - 62 out of 85 - plus 8 on the ground. A complete disaster. Telegraph poles, cars, trucks, petrol stations, power lines. Not a great scenario.

This was a Southern DC9 ... it landed on Ga Hwy 92, while attempting to make either Dobbins AFB, or Rome GA. It ran out of time and could make neither.

Sad thing is - the pilot made a PERFECT landing on the 2-lane highway, dead on the double yellows.

Problem was, as you noted, the wingspan was wider than the right of way.

- litz

[Edited 2006-05-16 05:07:02]

User currently offlineCarmenlu15 From Guatemala, joined Dec 2004, 4756 posts, RR: 31
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5088 times:

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 2):
The last one I can think of was when a TACA jet landed on a levy on the Gulf Coast when it ran out of fuel.

IIRC, it was due to engine flameout (it was flying during a heavy storm). BTW, an interview with the pilot of that flight was recently posted here (Spanish, sorry): Interview With TA Pilot Who Landed In No Levee (by Mt99 May 12 2006 in Civil Aviation)



What do I know, I'm just an 'immature troublemaker with only a passing interest in aviation' (or so they say)
User currently offlineEHHO From Bulgaria, joined Dec 2005, 815 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5054 times:

IIRC, during the Lebanese civil war, a highway was actually used on a regular basis as runway in one of the partitioned parts of Beirut. Weren't 747s even using it?


"Get your facts first. Then you may distort them as much as you please" -- Mark Twain
User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5036 times:

Quoting EHHO (Reply 11):
IIRC, during the Lebanese civil war, a highway was actually used on a regular basis as runway in one of the partitioned parts of Beirut. Weren't 747s even using it?

I believe that one of the cold war uses for the US interstate system was to use certain strait unobstructed portions as airstrips, and the shoulders are as strong as the road itself. Other uses include transporting missiles and other over-sized objects. The height of overpasses was increased from the standard 13 feet 6 inches with some of these considerations in mind too.

Fuzzy on this, just trying to remember. I know for sure the interstates had military uses in mind.



Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
User currently offlineRolfen From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 1800 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4964 times:

Quoting EHHO (Reply 11):
IIRC, during the Lebanese civil war, a highway was actually used on a regular basis as runway in one of the partitioned parts of Beirut. Weren't 747s even using it?

True, I still remember driving over the runway marks marks as a kid.
The runway was properly marked and yet was used as a highway at the same time.
The stretch of highway is still there but it has been partitionned and the markings are gone now. Last time I drove on it I tried to estimate the length and if my memory serves me well it was a bit over 1 km. I strongly doubt that a 747 could land there.

I had a friend who went planespotting there, he said that he mainly saw small planes.

[Edited 2006-05-17 19:44:58]


rolf
User currently offlineLredlefsen From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 151 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4923 times:

Quoting RichM (Thread starter):
would they consider landing on a motorway / highway?

Certain strips of the Autobahn in Northern Germany are dead straight for several km. The median is paved, and the guard rail easily removable, to turn the autobahn into a runway for military planes.

Check out the stretch of the A7 to the southeast of "Lottorf" at this link. To the northwest, you'll see the Jagel airforce base. I love driving that piece of road...  Smile

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...304&spn=0.059382,0.233288&t=h&om=1


User currently offlineDizzy8 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4898 times:

It's a judgment call. That's why airline pilots are paid relatively well; for their capacity to use quick and good judgment even though they may not have to react to a major emergency during their entire career.

In my opinion, the issue wouldn't be pavement vs. grass; it would be obstructions. All KNOWN things being equal, with a wide open grassy field adjacent to an empty 2 mile four-lane straight away, I'd take the highway.

However, during this leisurely glide to potential disaster, with the highway, you'd have to consider guard rails, utility poles, overpasses, a longer ground roll, and the rapidly approaching 18-wheelers carrying bricks.

Most unseen obstructions that would appear in an open field after you're committed to that particular spot would be relatively benign if you ran into them with a distressed airliner (as opposed to say, C.W. McCall's convoy.)

In most cases, I believe that an airline pilot would aim for the open field. He's likely gonna be fired ANYWAY...regardless if he saves the airplane or not. (He'd stand a better chance of getting another job though if he doesn't kill all of the PAX.)

Two air disasters come to mind:

UA232 @ SUX DC-10-10 07/19/89
UA173 @ PDX DC-8-61 12/28/78

Although I’m not picking on UA, both of these accidents are a classic case where an airliner making a forced landing resulted in fewer deaths than anybody could have imagined. In both instances, whether by accident or by design, the impacts were made substantially survivable due to the aircraft landing in organic matter (cornfield in the former; tall pines in the latter.)

The outcomes would have been different had they hit a bridge abutment.

[Edited 2006-05-17 20:44:13]

User currently offlineGeizistgeil From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 149 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4849 times:

Here´s a list of NLPs (Autobahn-Notlandeplätze; Highway Emergency Runways) in Germany during WWII and the Cold War. Sorry only available in german.
Also in Switzerland there are interessting runways where in shelter next to the highways fighters are hidden.
German NLPs





There was an accident in the north of Germany nearby Hamburg in 1971, where a BAC 1-11 had to "land" shortly after take-off on Autobahn, because the tanks where normaly water for cooling the engines for full-throttle take-offs was carried, were filled with kerosene, which caused a totaly loss of power. The touchdown itself was perfect, but a bridge cut up the wings and the ac broke into 3 pieces. 22 fatalities and 99 survivors. Nobody on the highway was injured


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Lars Söderström



Report



"If the Wright brothers were alive today. Wilbur would have to fire Orville to reduce costs" (H. Kelleher)
User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3808 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4788 times:

Wonder why nobody has mentioned this, but most paved roads, including interstate highways, aren't built strong enough to hold the extreme weight of a heavy plane (pemember that the ENTIRE wiight of the plane is concentrated in a few spots). A 747 would crack the surface and pull a D-ABTK within seconds.

Soren  santahat 



All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4776 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 17):
including interstate highways

I dont think this is correct, the DOD specified interstate design as much as DOT did with military appliocations in mind.



Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
User currently onlineB6JFKH81 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2872 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4759 times:

Isn't there a stipulation with the U.S. DOT that for US Interstate highways, for every certain amount of miles that road is there has to be a straightaway for an a/c emergency landing with side clearings and no bridges?


"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4752 times:

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 19):
Isn't there a stipulation with the U.S. DOT that for US Interstate highways, for every certain amount of miles that road is there has to be a straightaway for an a/c emergency landing with side clearings and no bridges?

That is along the lines of what I remember on this subject, interstates also are supposed to support missle carriers and other super heavy military transports and tank convoys.



Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3808 posts, RR: 51
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4729 times:

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 19):
Isn't there a stipulation with the U.S. DOT that for US Interstate highways, for every certain amount of miles that road is there has to be a straightaway for an a/c emergency landing with side clearings and no bridges?

ORLY? Then where are those stretches in Vermont, Maine, Colorado, Wyoming, Hawaii...

http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/mayjun00/onemileinfive.htm

An Urban Legend, one that many A.netters keep alive and alive and alive by posting this fairy tale again and again... without putting their brain to work and think about what they are saying.

Soren  santahat 



All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
User currently offlineTheSorcerer From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2005, 1048 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4720 times:

The swedish air force use highways regularly i think. IIRC there are parts of highways that are widened especialy for this.
Can anyone confirm this?
thanks
Dominic



ALITALIA,All Landings In Torino, All Luggage In Athens ;)
User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4716 times:

Who ever said anything about that? If anything it reinforces my contention that the interstate system has military applications. Nobody said anything about a law, or any specific specifications.

I also find it interesting that the picture included is NOT an interstate. Interstates have signs, and light poles at interchanges, but do not have telephone or power poles along the shoulder.



Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
User currently offlinePureKiwi From New Zealand, joined Feb 2006, 183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 4554 times:

I was told yesterday that with China pointing something like 750 missiles at Taiwan the Freeway here has a removable barrier in the middle and can be used as a runway and the toll stations can be used for operations or parking.

25 Centrair : Last year they did a drill in Taiwan using the highways as the runway. As for the U.S. I believe that Fighter aircraft could land on the Highways but
26 QXatFAT : Yes, there should not be phone poles on the side of interstates. The emergency phones are run by solar panels. I believe that something the size of a
27 Post contains images TripleDelta : The Swedish, Finnish and Polish airforces have, or at least had in the past several years, elaborate exercises on operations from roads and highways (
28 Post contains links F9fan : While the U.S. Interstate highway system was designed to handle military applications, such as large scale troop and equipment transport in the case
29 Post contains images Infodesk : On the motorway between Zürich and Bern there is a dead straight section. I believe that in the event of war, the central reservation can be removed
30 Post contains links Antiuser : It happened just a few days ago in Florida... http://www1.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI20398/
31 Post contains links Raffik : In 2004, a Cessna 172 made an emergency landing on a Beirut highway after engine failure. No one was hurt and the aircraft didn't even come into conta
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