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18-year-old pilot makes emergency plane landing on major NJ highway


A young man successfully made an emergency plane landing without injury on a New Jersey highway on Monday. 

The incident occurred on July 19th at around 12:30 p.m. near Steel Pier in Atlantic City. 

According to NJ News, 18-year-old Landon Lucas was flying the small banner plane when it began having engine trouble. Lucas reported the issue, released the banner into the ocean, and was attempting to make it to the Ocean City municipal airport when he noticed a gap in traffic on westbound Route 52. 

Lucas then seized the gap and landed the plane on the roadway “without incident,” according to witnesses. In fact, the plane was not even damaged. 

“We were sitting at a window seat at Oves on the Boardwalk about 11:11 a.m. when my husband looked up and said that plane is in trouble,” said Sharon Lyons Wardlow, who saw the incident. “It was low to the beach, traveling slow, with the banner hanging down.”

“We rode up and couldn’t believe what we were seeing, but it’s a really young pilot and what an amazing job he did,” one woman told Eyewitness News. “It’s incredible that he was able to pull this off. So hats off to the pilot, he did a great job.”

“It’s not easy. It’s really a challenge. I’m very proud of him. It’s really phenomenal that he was able to do this safely,” said Justin Dugary, who was in his boat at the time of the incident and was able to see the touchdown. He says he is a pilot himself.

Thankfully, the stray plane sitting on the roadway did not cause any wrecks, though it did snarl traffic for some time as the plane was removed and the incident investigated. The wings had to be removed from the plane in order to tow it back to the airport.

Lucas had just earned his pilot’s license 3 months ago and declined to be interviewed, but said he is okay.


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