richm
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Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 8:41 am

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]
 
levg79
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 8:44 am

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.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 8:47 am

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!
 
visakow
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 9:02 am

This is not faked from what I know.

Big version: Width: 200 Height: 150 File size: 14kb
 
richm
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 9:06 am

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
 
N766UA
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 9:10 am

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.
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rolfen
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 9:10 am

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
 
bond007
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 9:17 am

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!
 
cedarjet
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 10:15 am

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.
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litz
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Tue May 16, 2006 12:06 pm

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]
 
carmenlu15
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Wed May 17, 2006 10:29 pm

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)
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
ehho
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Wed May 17, 2006 11:01 pm

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
 
deltadc9
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Wed May 17, 2006 11:10 pm

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.
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rolfen
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 2:42 am

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
 
lredlefsen
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 3:14 am

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
 
dizzy8
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 3:27 am

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]
dizzy8
 
geizistgeil
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 4:01 am

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


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Photo © Lars Söderström



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Birdwatching
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 5:36 am

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 
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deltadc9
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 5:40 am

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
 
B6JFKH81
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 5:49 am

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"
 
deltadc9
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 5:51 am

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
 
Birdwatching
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 6:00 am

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.

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TheSorcerer
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 6:03 am

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 ;)
 
deltadc9
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Thu May 18, 2006 6:07 am

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
 
PureKiwi
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Mon May 22, 2006 12:50 pm

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.
 
centrair
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Mon May 22, 2006 2:58 pm

Quoting DeltaDC9 (Reply 23):
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.

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 nothing bigger than that.
Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
 
QXatFAT
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Mon May 22, 2006 3:39 pm

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 DC9, CRJ, EMB, SAAB could make these landings. A B737 or A318,19,20 could possibly. Other then that, no heavys could make this landing.

Now in PHX you have the temp getting so hot that the runway can actually melt the tires on an aircraft. Dont you think that in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and possibly Texas, the roads would be unstable? Are the runways at airports and interstates made of the same material? There is a lot of tar in the materal and can often see on the sides of the road that it is melting in the sun in some places. Looks like it could be very unsturdy.
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TripleDelta
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Mon May 22, 2006 3:47 pm

The Swedish, Finnish and Polish airforces have, or at least had in the past several years, elaborate exercises on operations from roads and highways (the Swedes are quite well known for that):

Finnish Air Force:

View Large View Medium
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Photo © Mikko Maliniemi
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Mikko Maliniemi



Polish Air Force:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Joop de Groot - CRMAP
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Olaf Juergensmeier



Granted, these are small military aircraft. Concerning civil ones, there are many instances in general aviation of piston singles or twins landing on highways and roads. Their low approach speed, as well as maneuverability at those speeds, not to mention their smaller wingspan (reference to roadside obstacles), make landing on roads less of a deal than with big jets. High-wings have another inherent advantage over low-wings, that of better ground clearance, which would enable an aircraft to land even on roads that have some smaller obstacles or hedges along the sides. Plus, as far as GA is concerned, two lanes + a service lane is quite enough for a successful landing.

However, there seem to be, at least as far the navigation data in Microsoft's Flight Simulator is correct, a lot of highway strips in Middle Eastern countries (understandable due to a general lack of airports out in the sparsely-populated desert). Most are clear, widened stretches of highway of about 2-3 km in length.
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F9Fan
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Mon May 22, 2006 3:54 pm

Quoting DeltaDC9 (Reply 12):
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.



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?

While the U.S. Interstate highway system was designed to handle military applications, such as large scale troop and equipment transport in the case of an attempted land invasion, they were simply not designed to act as runways. In Germany, however, the Autobahn was designed to be at least partially used as runways, which was done during WWII. However, it is impractical to clear the highway in just minutes, which is all the notice you would have in a real emergency, so highways are used only as an absolute last resort.

While there are several reports of small aircraft landing on roadways, I've never heard of a large commercial airliner landing on one. UA 232 considered using I-29 as an emergency runway south of SUX, but decided against it when they realized they could make the airport.

By the way, this article shows a C-5 Galaxy that overran a runway at Norfolk Naval Station and got stuck over I-564 in Norfolk, Virginia for 16 hours while they had to get a towbar to recover the aircraft. As this photo shows, this is why it would be impractical to use a highway for a runway for larger aircraft.

F9Fan
 
infodesk
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Mon May 22, 2006 5:01 pm

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 and military aircraft could land. The Swiss certainly are organised  Smile
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antiuser
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Mon May 22, 2006 7:53 pm

It happened just a few days ago in Florida...
http://www1.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI20398/
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raffik
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RE: Landing On The Motorway / Highway?

Mon May 22, 2006 8:29 pm

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 contact with any vehicles. This is the article, with pictures! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3863985.stm
- Alec

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