June 22, 2009

Pilot, 83: Highway landing ‘perfect’

An 83-year-old pilot who landed his damaged single-engine Hummelbird plane on a busy South Florida expressway said it was a perfect landing.

Ralph Squeglia, 83, said he aimed for the Sawgrass Expressway near Miami after clipping the homemade plane's left wing on a light pole Sunday and guided the aircraft to the ground while carefully dodging cars, WTVJ-TV, Miami, reported Monday.

It was a perfect landing, said Squeglia, who has been flying planes since 1944.

However, he said there were some complications on the ground.

I was rolling straight and my tail wing broke, causing me to veer right, he said. Then the wing hit a light pole and I ended up here.

A Florida state trooper on the scene said Squeglia will not be hit with any traffic violations. The Federal Aviation Administration sent investigators to the scene and has yet to comment on the incident, WTVJ said.