Vincent Fraser had to execute an emergency landing on a highway even though he received his private pilot’s license only in October 2021, NBC News reported.
Fraser flew for very little time, with fewer than 100 hours of cockpit experience. He wasn’t flying alone and had his father-in-law alongside him in the aircraft.
Fraser was flying the 1967 variant of the Aero Commander 100. Also known as the Volaire 1050, the Aero Commander is a single-pilot aircraft that can accommodate up to three passengers and cruise at 128 mph (206 kph). With a fuel capacity of 44 US gallons (166.5 L), the Aero Commander has a range of 510 miles (820 km) and a service ceiling of 13,000 feet (4,000 m).
The aircraft is powered by the single Lycoming O-320-A, an air-cooled engine that generates 150 hp (110 kW) and has fixed tricycle landing gear.
Fraser took his father-in-law as a Father’s Day gift. They flew to the outskirts of Bryson City to observe some property Fraser had recently bought from the sky.
Speaking to NBC News, Fraser said that the single-engine of the aircraft failed. Fraser was looking to fly up, but the aircraft seemed to sink.
Fraser told his father-in-law to look for a place to land the aircraft while he tried to restart the aircraft. They were flying at 5,000 feet (1,524 m), but the aircraft quickly dropped and was at 1,000 feet (~305 m) when Fraser knew that he had no way out but to carry out an emergency landing.
Fraser spotted a bridge, but it was busy. Another alternate was a nearby river, and that’s where Fraser was headed when he saw Highway 19 and made the landing.
YouTubers commended Fraser’s skills, who also avoided power lines on his way to the road and escaped the incoming vehicles while landing on the strip as the highway curved.