Teen pilot in NJ bridge landing says ‘being scared does nothing’

The teen pilot who made an emergency landing on a New Jersey bridge stated the surprising cease wasn’t the “smoothest” of his profession — however nonetheless acquired the job completed.

Landon Lucas, 18, recalled the wild landing he made Monday in the westbound lanes of the Route 52 causeway connecting Ocean City to Somers Point after his banner-toting Piper J3 aircraft began having engine hassle whereas flying over Atlantic City, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

“Being scared does nothing,” Lucas instructed the newspaper Wednesday. “It was either water or bridge. There was a gap in traffic, and I went in. I just did a 90-degree turn, and put it on.”

Lucas, a Wyoming native with an affiliate’s diploma in aviation from Northwest College, stated he was having a “bumpy” experience above Atlantic City casinos when his engine “rolled back to idle out of nowhere” amid the turbulence.

The younger aviator flying for Paramount Air Service then ditched the plane’s banner — an advert for Steel Pier amusement park — and headed towards Ocean City Municipal Airfield, or the “nearest actual airport,” he recalled.

Landon Lucas stands next to his plane after he made an emergency landing on the Route 52 causeway connecting Ocean City and Somers Point, NJ on July 19, 2021.
Landon Lucas stands subsequent to his aircraft after he made an emergency landing on the Route 52 causeway connecting Ocean City and Somers Point, NJ on July 19, 2021.
AP

“I still had marginal engine power, enough to sustain altitude,” Lucas stated. “I thought if I at least had that, I would aim for the airport. It’s a lot easier to aim for the airport and actually take off again than to land in an abandoned airport or a highway. The intention was not to land in a bridge in the first place.”

But the aircraft’s engine “completely failed” moments later as Lucas was approaching Ocean City. He then seen a “gap in traffic” on the bridge sufficiently big for him to land on the two.2-mile span, the place no vehicles got here close to the aircraft till it touched down, the Inquirer reported.

“I was trained,” the cool and picked up teen stated. “I knew how to do it. I attempted Ocean City, and didn’t make it. What’s going to kill you is getting scared.”

Lucas landed the aircraft — constructed in 1946 — with out injuring himself or anybody else on the causeway, though a two-car accident occurred on its eastbound lanes, the Inquirer reported.

“It wasn’t the smoothest of my career,” he stated. “It was smooth enough.”

Landon Lucas
“The intention was not to land in a bridge in the first place,” Lucas stated.
Landon Lucas Facebook
Lucas
Lucas deliberate to land the aircraft at Ocean City Municipal Airfield however the plane’s engine “completely failed.”
@amysrosenberg by way of Twitter

Lucas said he yelled out “f–k yeah” as loud as he could upon landing the plane, which didn’t have “even a scratch” on it, he stated.

“Being scared does nothing,” he continued. “It was my only option. You look left, you look right. There was really only one spot to put it in. One good spot.”

Mechanic Joe McSherry stated the damaged weld in the aircraft’s airbox shall be mounted earlier than it flies once more “probably next week,” the Inquirer reported.

McSherry stated Lucas managed to get the Piper J3 onto the bridge with simply ft to spare — noting the width of the westbound lanes is 39 ft, or 4 ft wider than the aircraft’s wingspan.

Emergency responders talk with Lucas after he made an emergency landing on the Route 52 causeway in New Jersey.
Emergency responders speak with Lucas after he made an emergency landing on the Route 52 causeway in New Jersey.
AP

“He nailed it,” McSherry stated.

Video showed Lucas back up in the skies Wednesday whereas towing a Cape May National Golf banner over Wildwood.

“Just another day at work, not an ideal one,” Lucas stated of his landing. “That’s how you make your money. I’m trained to be a pilot. Flying a plane that runs is not that hard. It’s when they stop running.”

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