No one was injured when a Bellanca Viking with two people aboard made an emergency landing on a Minnesota freeway on Dec. 2, colliding with an SUV. Surveillance video shows the plane threading through light standards before touching down in the left lane of I-35 near New Brighton. While the landing was successful, the plane overtook an SUV in the right lane and its right wing collided with the vehicle. The plane and car ended up tangled on the median.
According to local media, competitive aerobatic pilot Craig Gifford was flying the Viking. He reportedly told the lone occupant of the vehicle that the aircraft had suffered a “complete engine failure.” Gifford was part of the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatics team that earned a bronze medal at the world championships in South Africa in 2017. He also competed 2019. EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told KMOV it was a “textbook emergency landing” by a pilot whose aerobatics training undoubtedly helped. “Pilots are trained to deal with emergency engine problems and things like that if you have to make an emergency landing, and so the combination of that training and certainly (Gifford’s) aerobatic training really paid off in this situation,” he said.