Officer Michael Bowman with Cobb Police said the pilot and his two adult passengers, all whose names are not being released, were flying back to Georgia from Nashville, Tenn., when the plane began experiencing engine problems.
“He was unable to make it to McCollum Air Field so he took the path with the least congested area,” Bowman said. “The pilot did awesome by putting it down on the interstate as opposed in the congested areas of Barrett Parkway or Chastain Road.”
He said no one was injured on the ground or in the aircraft.
Part of the plane stretched into the right-hand lane, causing traffic to slow in the area between 1 and 4 p.m..
Officers on the scene were trying to figure out how to get the plane back to McCollum, which is about five miles away.
“We had a big tow truck put it on a flatbed trailer and take it to the airport,” Bowman said.
Karl Von Hagel, McCollum Airport’s manager, said it seems the pilot was familiar with the area because he figured out the best location to land.
“Pilots are always observant of their surroundings and looking for potential emergency sites,” he said. “Your possibilities become less as your altitude decreases. I don’t know details of the altitude, but his options were probably limited and he found the best and safest landing possibility he could apply and it sounds like he executed it successfully.”
Neither Von Hagel, nor Bowman, could recall a plane ever landing on the interstate safely before, but the airport manager remembered a single-engine plane landing on Cobb Parkway a few years ago.
According to Journal archives, a Canton pilot was on a training flight with a student practicing takeoffs and landings with emergency maneuvers when the cockpit began to fill with smoke in June 2009.
Traveling south, the pilot landed the plane in the southbound lane of Cobb Parkway south of Nance Road and north of the Wal-Mart Shopping Center between a gap in cars.
This landing, like the one around 1 p.m. on Sunday, happened just shy of five miles from the airport.