Pilot Mistakes Road For Runway

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It’s not unusual for a pilot to land on a road in an emergency situation, but this week in Florida, a pilot mistook a road for a nearby runway, and landed there in his fully functional Cirrus SR22. The 23-year-old private pilot wasn’t hurt, but the airplane hit a couple of mailboxes and a fence, damaging the prop and the wings. “I’ve never had an incident like this,” Pasco County Sheriff’s Sergeant Leslie Strube told the local Fox news station. “He indicated he thought he was landing over at Pilot Country [a nearby residential airstrip], and once he was on the ground, he realized he was in the wrong spot.” A look at Google Maps shows that the long straight road in the equestrian development where the pilot put down is on a similar heading and close to the same length and width as the runway about a mile to the west.

Dave Torro, a resident of the subdivision, told Tampa Bay Online he was backing out of his driveway on Tuesday morning with his 11-year-old daughter in the car when he saw the Cirrus land “right in front of me” and continue down the street. “We watched mailbox after mailbox fly into the air,” he said. The pilot told Torro that he got his certificate just five months ago. The FAA is investigating.