Plane makes ‘textbook’ emergency landing along interstate in NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A small plane landed on the shoulder of Interstate 540 near Leesville Road in Raleigh Tuesday morning.

During a news briefing Tuesday morning, Andrew Sawyer with Raleigh-Durham International Airport Authority said shortly before 9 a.m., a single-engine aircraft took off from RDU. Shortly after departure, Sawyer said the pilot radioed back and reported having mechanical issues and asked for an emergency landing.

Sawyer said the pilot was given clearance to land on any runway he needed to and that emergency vehicles were on standby.

Shortly after the radio call,  Sawyer said they were made aware that the plane had landed along I-540.

The plane could be seen off to the side of the road on a North Carolina Department of Transportation camera during the morning commute.

The incident impacted traffic in the westbound lanes as emergency crews and law enforcement officers were on scene.

Raleigh police said the pilot was the only person on board at the time of the incident. The plane is a fixed single-engine PA-28R-200 manufactured by Piper, according to registration records. Registration records list the co-owner as William Woody, who is believed to be the pilot.

Wake County Spokesman Eric Curry said when emergency crews arrived on the scene, the pilot was sitting on the wing of the plane. EMS checked him out and he appeared to be OK.

Curry categorized the landing as “textbook” in regards to the situation. Curry, as well as emergency crews, credited the pilot with making such a difficult landing without causing harm to himself or any drivers on I-540 Tuesday morning.

As protocol, the FAA is investigating the incident.

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