Unsuspecting Driver Gets Ford Slashed By Airplane Propeller

Illustration for article titled Unsuspecting Driver Gets Ford Slashed By Airplane Propeller

No, a Sliced Fusion isn't a sushi roll from the crappy Japanese restaurant down the street, and those shark gills aren't stick-on air vents from Pep Boys. This sliced Fusion was the result of a single-engine, propeller driven Mooney making an emergency landing on a Minnesota highway after the engine decided to quit shortly after takeoff.


According the Minnesota State Patrol, the pilot had departed Hawley Municipal Airport on a trip to Minot, ND when the aircraft experienced a power failure at 1,000 feet. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing on Highway 10 just south of the airport and east of the city.

Corey Ernst of Fargo claimed to have noticed the airplane in her mirror but didn't have enough time to move out of the way. The landing speed for a Mooney is roughly 80 mph and could be substantially faster depending on the severity of the mechanical failure and the prevailing winds during touchdown.

Illustration for article titled Unsuspecting Driver Gets Ford Slashed By Airplane Propeller

A pilot is trained to land straight ahead should an engine fail below 500 feet during takeoff. Any attempt to return to land below that altitude will result in the "impossible turn". That's where a sharp bank back toward the runway ends in a catastrophic accident generally with a wing stall and a fatal crash.

Above 500 feet it's at the pilot's discretion to find the safest suitable landing area. Even at higher altitudes, the excess drag caused by the dead engine and the windmilling propellor may make a turn back to land unfeasible. A pilot is required to practice simulated emergency landings which generally tends to be a clear field with no obstructions but often times ends up being an open section of pavement.

While it may be debated whether an active public road is the best location for an emergency landing, the pilot is charged with operating his vehicle in a manner to preserve the safety of all the occupants. In this case, the pilot averted a near disaster and was able to get himself and his passenger safely on the ground with minimal damage to property and with no injuries to any of the three individuals involved.


Here's the official report from the Minnesota State Patrol:

A single engine private plane took off from the Hawley airport heading west with Minot, ND being a destination. At about 1000 feet, the engine quit and the pilot had to turn and find an emergency landing spot.

Passenger in the plane along with the pilot located a clear spot on Highway 10 eastbound at MP 19. The plane made a successful emergency landing on Highway 10 eastbound. The Ford Fusion was eastbound on Highway 10 in front of the plane.

After the plane landed, it caught up to the Fusion. The driver noticed a plane behind her in her mirror as it was catching up to the car. The plane prop struck the rear of the driver's side before she could drive into the ditch. No injuries were reported, and the plane was pushed off the roadway into a residential driveway.

The NTSB and FAA are investigating. The FAA inspector from Fargo is already on-scene. The State Patrol was assisted by Clay County Sheriff's Department, Hawley Police Department, and the FAA.


Chris is a pilot who loves airplanes and cars and his writing has been seen on Jalopnik. Contact him with questions or comments via twitter or email.


Takuro Spirit

Objects in mirror are HOLY FUUUUUUCCCCCK!!!!!!!!!!