UPDATED 11:30 AM: LITCHFIELD — A warden service pilot used the Maine Turnpike for an emergency landing and to take off after refueling.
The Maine Turnpike Authority says the airplane landed in the northbound lanes in Litchfield shortly before 9 a.m. In addition to the pilot, a biologist was on board. No one was hurt.
After the plane was refueled, it took off from the area.
A game warden spokesman says pilot Dan Dufault had to land because the single-engine plane had “some sort of fuel problem.” The plane was parked off the highway at an abandoned service area while officials assessed the aircraft.
Randy Greenleaf of Litchfield said he was at home near the Turnpike when he heard the plane’s engine cut out. He then saw the plane glide to the highwayand heard it touch down on pavement. Greenleaf was able to make it to the highway to see it coast up the Turnpike behind a truck.
After the plane was refueled at an old service area at mile marker 98, it taxied back onto the Turnpike about 11:15 a.m. and took off. State police blocked off northbound traffic for the takeoff.
A search of the Federal Aviation Administration database shows the plane is a military trainer version of the Cessna 172.
UPDATED 10:27 A.M.: The Maine Turnpike Authority has reported that a small plane has made an emergency landing Friday morning on the Maine Turnpike in Litchfield. The plane landed in the northbound lanes near mile marker 95.
The Kennebec Journal is reporting the plane belongs to the Maine Warden Service and that no one is injured.
The report said it was due to an empty fuel tank. There were no near misses and the plane is now off the highway at the old Litchfield service plaza at mile 98.
- The interstate highway system was NOT designed to accomodate airplane landings (Snopes.com)
- How to land a plane on a highway (Slate.com)