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Aquila 210 dead stick on highway

Yesterday an Aquila 210 based at LOWG had to perform a dead stick landing on a Slovenian highway, presumably due to loss of engine power. In spite of busy traffic it was successful and no one was injured. Airplane totaled.

Last Edited by Snoopy at 06 Aug 07:17
always learning
LO__, Austria

What I don’t get is why he didn’t aim for a meadow on the other side of the highway… We had similar case few years ago in Croatia.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

As a glider pilot, I don’t think the highway option was necessarily such a bad choice.

Let’s have a look at google maps east of the Brezje exit of the E61:
1) The fields are all quite short (<200m).
2) The fields show an irregular orientation pattern (visible from above) indicative of a very hilly terrain in general.
3) The main orientation of the fields is more or less oriented 90° with respect to the highway which typically indicates a significant gradient of the fields (up- or downslope not easy to determine when looking from above).
4) No obstacle free approach to the fields due to trees and a power line (the power line is visible in the pictures of the linked article and the (shadows of) poles are also visible on google maps).
5) Landing was in the direction of the traffic flow, i.e. speed difference within reasonable limits.


Two guys landed on a small, congested road near me recently, and as it happened my wife and I had driven that stretch of road about 10 or 15 minutes beforehand. They hit a car but nobody was hurt. We drove through there again yesterday and I showed my wife how the pilot dove under an intersection traffic light arm and where he stopped. He did a good job.

Landing on roads is a tricky thing I think because you’re likely to come close to otherwise uninvolved people. The perspective in our flight training here is to consider roads as a primary resource for a forced landing because (1) there is often nowhere else to go and (2) you and the passengers may therefore be more likely to die or be injured if you don’t use the road than you are likely to inflict harm on others if you do. We have several road landings in my local area every year and while it has certainty happened, it is more often true that nobody on the road is hurt.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 07 Aug 16:36

HK-36R wrote:

As a glider pilot

Landing on a highway in congested areas like practically everywhere in Germany is regarded as one of the worst ideas to follow. In my club last year one tried a landing on a highway after the tow plane lost engine power. The tow plane pilot restarted the engine shortly before reaching ground and returned to the airfield, but the glider was a total destruction. Pilot went to hospital, but survived. There were some good and inviting fields around the landing site, and I think that this was no good idea. There are typically poles every now-and-then (several 100 meters apart, not regular, but for lots of signs or lights or whatever). However, it very much depends on the circumstances, as @HK-36R pointed out. If everything else is worse, go to the road. It’s like (I think) Churchill said about democracy. It’s the worst form of leadership; despite all the other existing forms.

I’ve never landed on a road. But I had several landings in fields where the topography turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought from above. For example, I remember one field I landed in that had a step of maybe 2 meters; it was obviously a dam, because I landed along a riverside. I only noticed it shortly before flare out, it was no factor to me, because I landed along about 20 meters away, but it left me quite impressed. I could not see that from above.

So yes, it really depends on the local circumstances. If all looks weird, the road could have been the best option for a mere survival.

Last Edited by UdoR at 08 Aug 07:56

Silvaire wrote:

Landing on roads is a tricky thing I think because you’re likely to come close to otherwise uninvolved people.

I agree – since people on the ground didn’t choose to take part in our “risky” activity, it seems like avoiding injuring them is a good idea. Of course, it’s easy to say this from the comfort of my living room. I like to say I will avoid injuring someone on the ground if I need to do a forced landing, but who knows what I will actually do if the time comes.

While driving, I play the mental game “what would happen if I wanted to land on this road?” – and often it’s pretty ugly just from an obstacle standpoint – wires, bridges, signs. Add in the vehicles, and it gets worse.

Fly more.
LSGY, Switzerland

@UdoR : It’s typically the wing span which renders roads less usable for gliders in Germany. However, as you mentioned, it really depends in which area your are flying. In the mountains, it may be the only reasonable option (If I remember correctly, someone landed successfully (i.e., with little damage) on a road in a black forrest valley last year). In Namibia, it is even a recommended option in general.


Right after the accident this gem turned up

„Hero of the Skies“

Article inside quotes pilot (SIC) „…thanks due to lots of simulator training for this scenario it went well, we practice this often in the simulator…“.

always learning
LO__, Austria

Sim training and four-bar epaulets for an Aquila. Alright then.

At least they didn’t say “climate criminal pilot attempts manslaughter on public highway, provoking tensions and international prosecution”

Last Edited by Silvaire at 03 Jan 03:11
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