Pilot Lands Troubled Plane On Interstate

Plane Lands On I-70, Startles Motorists

The pilot of a troubled single-engine plane safely landed on Interstate 70 in Hancock County Sunday afternoon.

The plane, which developed engine trouble, came down about two miles east of the Greenfield exit, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported.

Motorists were dumbfounded as the six-seater plane made its approach and after it landed. Many stopped alongside the road to snap pictures and take video.

The plane, piloted by Babar Suleman, of Plainfield, had taken off from Eagle Creek Airpark and was at about 7,000 feet when the engine stopped working.

With no power, Suleman said he couldn't possibly make it to the nearest airport, Mount Comfort, which was about seven miles away.

"I saw two trucks and there were two cars. I let the trucks go and I squeezed in between the two cars," Suleman said. "The rear car, he saw what was happening and he was smart enough he hit the brakes. The guy in front, he was just surprised by what was going on."

Suleman, who has been a pilot for four years, said keeping a calm head was critical to landing safely.

"After I touched down, the one (car) in front came pretty close. I could see the guy's face in the rear view mirror," Suleman said. "I was scared after I got out of the plane. My knees shook really bad."

After a mechanic checked out the craft and determined that ice had caused the temporary engine problem, the Federal Aviation Administration cleared it to take off, again using I-70 as a runway.

Police stopped traffic in both directions for about 15 minutes as the plane took to the skies again.

Suleman credited excellent training at Greenwood and Eagle Creek airports for allowing him to keep calm during the ordeal.