Pilot makes emergency landing on busy Washington road: ‘It’s a good day to be alive!’

Posted at 10:22 PM, Aug 01, 2019

SPANAWAY, Wash. -- A small plane made an emergency landing on a busy four-lane road in Washington state Thursday – the pilot walked away unharmed and, miraculously, no one else was hurt.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Clint Thompson’s dashcam captured the moment the plane came in for a landing.

“I thought it was a remote control plane at first," one witness told KCPQ.

“The plane just flies right by, woke me right up!”

“Next thing I know I’m driving and look over me and this plane comes down about 10 feet in the air you know about maybe from here to 25 maybe 30 feet in front of me," said Matthew McKenna.

The plane landed on Pacific Avenue, a main road riddled with power lines and a lot of cars.

Trooper Thompson said he had to think quickly.

“I decided to make a U-turn and turn on my emergency lights and try to slow traffic down to give him a place to land.”

The pilot, David Acklam, was lucky there weren't any power lines hovering over that stretch of Pacific Avenue.

McKenna is shocked that it wasn't worse.

“God, fantastic ... a plane comin' down the middle of the road like that."

That coupled with Trooper Thompson's quick thinking and Acklam's maneuvering made for a safe landing.

“I was flying to work and my engine quit…”

“In 21 years this is a first … a plane landed on Pacific Avenue,” Thompson said.

Acklam retired from the National Guard and said he lives near an airstrip in Yelm. He is obviously no stranger to flying.

“He had no problem with that little piece of asphalt," Eddie Comeau said, praising Acklam for his flying skills. “Came right to the stoplight, most amazing thing I think I’ve seen in a long time.”

Everyone involved is thankful the landing on Pacific Avenue ended the way it did.

“I’d like to thank the trooper for what he did, probably saved me from either serious injury or death and somebody else from getting in a car crash with a plane. It’s a good day to be alive," Acklam said.

Acklam says there is only minor damage to the plane. No other property was damaged and no one was hurt.