How Pilot’s Crash Landing on Los Angeles Freeway Saved His Life

Neither the pilot nor anyone on the ground was harmed in the crash.

WWII plane
A WWII-era plane crash-landed on a Los Angeles freeway Tuesday.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The controls of a World War II-era T-6 Texan are much more hands-on than modern-day fighter jets.

The planes require that a pilot constantly adjusts the stick — for steering and altitude purposes — in his or her right hand while the left controls the throttle and propeller, Wired reported. They also have only one engine, meaning if it fails, the whole plane’s going down.

That’s why professional flyer Dave Whitcomb chose to fly directly over Los Angeles‘ 101 Freeway instead of hilly terrain or a large body of water. He was flying an aircraft belonging to Condor Squadron, a Van Nuys-based non-profit.

“You’re always flying the airplane,” Whitcomb told the tech site. “In a smaller aircraft like that, it feels like it’s a part of you. Whereas big heavy jets today, you’re not manipulating the controls as much, because they’re so stable.”

When the single-engine plane started to go down on Tuesday, Whitcomb steered it as it gradually lost altitude and, somehow, managed not to clip or crush any unsuspecting cars on the road below.


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