Pilot Takes In Movie, Some Shopping
ANN 04.01.07 SPECIAL
EDITION: A twin-engine plane, type unknown, on its
way from Minneapolis' Flying Cloud Airport (FCM) to Marty's
Tranquility Base, Prior Lake, (45D) ended up landing on top of the
largest mall in the America, with the only apparent injuries
sustained to the pilot's self-esteem... and his credit
According to pilot I. Luv Shopn, a native of Bloomington, MN and
the only one on board, his aircraft's right engine ceased
functioning at 10:03 am Friday. He determined it best to land
in an area where there would be little danger to his plane and
pedestrians -- which meant nearby Interstate 494 was not a
"I felt the plane shaking and thought, 'Oh no, I'm not going to
make it there," Shopn told The Minneapolis
Marketplace-Gazetter. Looking around, he continued, he saw the
telltale Mall of America -- which itself is large enough to
hold 32 Boeing 747s, inside of course.
Although the gross building area is 1.2 million square feet and
the walking distance around one of its levels is .57 miles, it was
quite the trick to land on the roof. The parking lot, which holds
12,550 parking spaces, would have made a nice landing site -- but
it was full.
"I thought I did some pretty nifty landing to get this baby down
safely on the roof," said Shopn. "I even avoided all the air
conditioners... though I wish I woulda had a high-wing for some
After landing, Shopn opted to"park" his airplane atop
the roof, and wander among the 520 stores and 50 restaurants,
taking in a late morning movie at one of the 14 move screens.
("Wild Hogs," for those interested.)
When he returned to his plane later that afternoon, Shopn found
investigative teams from the FAA, NTSB, the Hennepin County Police,
and the Minnesota State Police surrounding his airplane.
Shopn, who was weighed down with bags of merchandise he had
purchased, was at a loss as to how he expected to get his plane
from the roof to the ground, especially with those extra pounds of
(Mall of America) cargo.
Officials who welcomed him back to his plane, however, had a
plan in place that will put a big dent into Shopn's already
maxed-out credit card. By the end of the day, his plane was back
safely at Flying Cloud Airport.
Shopn was recently earned his IFR ticket, and
has 347 hours under his belt. His flight instructor declined
comment about the incident.
His wife also said she would decline comment... until she saw
what Shopn brought home from the Mall of America.