83-year-old lands plane on expressway

Imagine. There you are driving along an expressway in South Florida. You’re checking the rear-view mirror and side-view mirrors, watching the distance between you and the cars in front of your car, smoothly navigating traffic. You’re doing a swell job, and then there’s a surprise–something you weren’t planning on. A yellow object comes into view. A large yellow tropical bird, perhaps? Your heart starts pounding faster. You think “Gaad!!! WHAT IS THAT THING?” It’s a plane–a single-engine Hummelbird plane, and it’s landing in front of you. ON THE EXPRESSWAY for heaven’s sake. And the plane is being driven by an 83-year-old.

That’s what happened yesterday morning to drivers on the Sawgrass Expressway near Oakland Park Blvd. Luckily the plane didn’t hit any cars and cars didn’t hit it when it landed in the midst of traffic after pilot Ralph Squeglia experienced engine trouble.

Lest you think this mishap had something to do with Squelia’s age, on the contrary. He’s been flying since the mid-1940 and knows a thing or two–such as how not to panic when landing a plane on an expressway and what to do if the airplane’s wing clips a light pole. Oh, yeah–and how to do so without hitting cars.

According to Carlos Miller’s Miami News article, Squelia is not getting a citation from the state troopers and the FAA has yet to comment. As for the state trooper’s report, perhaps there isn’t a citation regarding how one should land a plane in traffic. Like “I’m sorry sir, you landed on the wrong side of the road. You’re supposed to be going with traffic.”

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