Driver Credited For Facilitating Freeway Landing
A 1969 Champion 7KCAB landed on California highway 57 at about 7 p.m., Wednesday, near Pomona, without injury and without damage to a single vehicle, but with the help of one alert motorist. John Findley was alone in the plane en route from Long Beach to Upland, Calif., when he reported engine problems to controllers at Brackett Field, near Pomona. As Findley prepared for his freeway landing on the northbound lanes, he saw one driver begin to zig-zag, driving back and forth across the three freeway lanes. Findley believes the driver was attempting to warn other motorists of the potential danger and attempting to clear the roadway. Findley got the plane down and stopped without touching a single vehicle. One official told reporters it was the motorist's actions that were responsible for preventing a more substantial accident.
It is not clear how the motorist became aware of the aircraft, which was shown in photographs facing north in the northbound lanes of the highway, and the driver was not identified. After authorities arrived on the scene, one of three northbound lanes was opened to traffic. The aircraft sat for about an hour before being pushed up an off-ramp and then escorted by police as it taxied at least part of the way under its own power through side streets over the roughly 5 miles to Bracket field. Findley's landing strip freeway section was located between the Pomona freeway (Route 60) and the San Bernardino Freeway (Route 10) and roughly midway between the pilot's departure point and destination.