A National Cadet Crops (NCC) training aircraft made an emergency landing on the six-lane Eastern Peripheral Expressway Thursday afternoon, after the plane developed technical problems mid-air. According to officials, the two pilots in the aircraft emerged unscathed after a rescue operation was initiated by the Indian Air Force.
“On Thursday afternoon, an NCC Microlight Aircraft was flying from Bareilly to Hindon Airfield. About 8 km short of Hindon, the Microlight developed a technical problem. The aircraft safely landed on National Highway. Both pilots are safe. Further investigation is on,” said the NCC in a statement.
According to sources, the aircraft was being flown by a Group Captain and a Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force, and was due to land at the Hindon Airbase in Ghaziabad. The pilots manoeuvered the plane at the last minute to avoid landing amidst traffic on the highway. It finally landed at 1.30 pm on the Dasna-Duhai interchange side, close to Sadarpur village. An IAF helicopter from the Hindon Base was sent to initiate rescue operations.
Neeraj Jadaun, SP Rural Ghaziabad, said: “On receiving information, we reached the spot to cordon off the area so that civilians don’t meddle with equipment. A call was made to the airbase. Since the plane’s wheel had been damaged, it was not in a condition to fly. It was eventually towed off to the base.”
According to police, the front rotor and front wheel of the aircraft were damaged during landing. Traffic on the stretch was halted for more than 15 minutes, said a traffic police officer.
An eyewitness said: “We saw the plane coming down at a very low level, it was wobbling. Initially, we didn’t know where it would land. But it dipped towards the side of the highway and landed close to the crash barrier.”
In 2017, 16 IAF planes performed touch and go landing manoeuvers at the Taj Expressway to demonstrate the Force’s ability of emergency landing, as per sources in the defence ministry. In July, 2018, IAF’s Mirage 2000 successfully test landed on the Yamuna Expressway from a height of 100 metres.
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