Dodges Transmission Lines, Cars; No Injuries
The pilot of a Cessna 182 dodged a set of high-powered
transmission lines, flew through wind gusts of 35 mph, and landed
on I-10 in Banning without hitting a car or causing injuries
Saturday afternoon, California police said.
The Cessna 182 (file photo of type, above) with four people
onboard was approaching the Banning Municipal Airport from the
west, said airport ground-to-air communications technician John
Sedlock, who was giving directions to pilot Lanny Ropke.
Ropke is a former American Airlines pilot with 42 years flight
experience, 33 years as a commercial pilot. The plane was about a
mile short of the runway and 500 feet above the freeway when the
engine locked up.
"With winds like this, to lose the engine and land on the
freeway with nobody getting hurt ... it's a miracle," said
"He did a fabulous job of guiding that plane," agreed Banning
Police Sgt. Mike Loader. "It's amazing no cars were hit."
"It all happened too quick to be scared," said Ropke, 61. "I was
totally focused on just putting her between the cars."
Ropke and three friends had departed Sacramento for a smooth and
scenic flight into Banning Municipal Airport.
Ropke described for the San Bernardino County Sun how, despite
motor failure and wind gusts, he maneuvered the plane for a safe,
but hard, landing amid speeding freeway traffic.
What does a Cessna 182 look like after such a landing? Its
three-blade propeller is mangled, its front landing gear is
smashed, and everything in front of the cabin is torn and battered.
The plane was towed to the airport.
All four airplane occupants declined medical treatment. Airport
officials said the FAA and the NTSB will investigate.