LEBANON, N.H. – A vintage biplane made a dramatic emergency landing on Interstate 89, backing up traffic but leaving the pilot, his passenger and his plane unhurt.
Richard "Bud" Bushway and Mary Dixon, both of Strafford, Vt., were coming in for a landing at Lebanon Regional Airport Saturday morning when the engine on Bushway's 1940 vintage biplane stalled.
Bushway was able to find a break in traffic and landed his plane safely on the highway between exits 20 and 19 before moving over to the breakdown lane. Traffic was reduced to one lane and eventually was stopped so the plane could be towed to the airport.
"I'm thankful for Bud. If anybody could get it down, it was him," said Dixon, 67.
Bushway, 68, an experienced pilot, had flown earlier in the day to Rutland, where he and Dixon met other aviation enthusiasts for a pancake breakfast hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association. There was no sign of trouble until they were approaching the runway.
"It just happened so fast. I just went on instinct," Bushway said.
Dixon said she couldn't see much during the landing, but fear never really grabbed her.
"I was just scared we might land on somebody or hurt somebody," she said.
Bushway, who runs an insurance agency, estimated that he was going about 65 miles per hour, the highway speed limit, when he touched down. He said he thought about trying to glide to a different runway, but judged it was too far away and decided to land on the highway.
"It was about the only choice we had," Dixon said.