Plane lands on busy N7 highway

2013-01-09 09:05

Cape Town - A learner pilot had to land his small plane on the busy N7, the main route between Cape Town and Namibia, on Tuesday after running out of fuel.

An inspector from the Jaffie flight school in Vredendal said the learner pilot of a Cessna 172 realised his fuel was running out and decided to do a preventative landing outside Vanrhynsdorp, reported Die Burger.

Fortunately there were not a lot of cars on the N7 at the time and no one was injured.

The right lane of the highway was closed to traffic for about an hour-and-a-half until more fuel arrived and the plane could take off again for Vredendal.

Koos Liebenberg from Jaffie flight school said it was not an emergency landing.

“Learner pilots sometimes get into worse situations than that.”

The plane was not damaged.

  • avremel.niselow - 2013-01-09 09:17

    Good thing it wasn't the M1 in rush hour!

      debduplessis - 2013-01-09 09:46

      I guess he figured he pays a Motor Vehicle Licence annually, so why not use the roads ;) LOL

      patrick.mbense - 2013-01-09 10:00

      Busy?? That section is usually very quiet! Very dramatic News24 but well done to the pilot!!

      klippies.coke.7 - 2013-01-09 12:37

      Headline: Plane Lands on Busy Highway Article: Fortunately there were not a lot of cars on the N7 at the time and no one was injured. Sensationalism: +1 Accuracy: -2 - 2013-01-09 19:40

      That looks more likes minor crash than a landing to me.... When was the last time you saw a " landing" where the fuselage was on the ground with the prop bent....

      HJS - 2013-01-09 21:30

      Buzzbar !! wake up, the story and the photo have nothing to do with each other. Not same model Plane, not same road, not same reason for the emergemcy landing. But I give up, I also don't know why News24 put the photo there. Maybe just to catch someone out?

      sipho.mathabula - 2013-01-09 22:59

      RULE 1 In Pilots hand book do you have enough fuel for the trip.

      preshen.govender.12382 - 2013-01-10 08:15

      Go home plane you are drunk - 2013-01-10 12:12

      @HJS, gee I would never have suspected they are not linked with the story being about a light plane landing on the N7 and the pictures of a light plane in the article right next door. T w a t.

  • mfumbayelangabi.silwane - 2013-01-09 09:17

    good boy you will make a wonderful Aviator

      susan.economakis - 2013-01-09 09:21

      I agree - he did not panic and did the right thing. Well done boy!

      mikel.kiparski.7 - 2013-01-09 09:32

      running out of fuel,,,,,,,HOW DIM CAN YOU GET???????????

      PrettyUsefulArt - 2013-01-09 09:37

      Boy! What a story he has to tell... Must've been as terrifying in the moment as it was exhilarating afterwards.

      rodney.louis.7 - 2013-01-09 09:43

      well not doing a pre -trip inspection of the fuel reserves is basic stuff ..not so sure if ill trust this oke with my plane if i had one lol

      kuhle.nco - 2013-01-09 11:04

      Will he? really? Rule no 1: check your fuel and the reserve. A detailed flight plan will tell you how much fuel you need.

      Ignorance police - 2013-01-09 11:14

      He ran our of fuel cos he was lost not because of lack of planning. Not many landmarks out there and he is not instrument rated. Well done. Good man

      christopher.landsberg.bell.Tinker - 2013-01-10 10:16

      @ingorance police-> there is more than enough to Nav on in that area for u to not to get lost, all that this means is that the instructors are not making sure that there students are ready to go Solo. You are also suppose to know what your endurance is, therefore when you realize you are temporarily unaware of your position you contact ATC!!! you have cape town info and u Langebaanweg... what more do you need... hence poor instruction from the flying school!

      Ignorance police - 2013-01-10 11:27

      Christopher u may have a point about the training. However I merely want to point out that in that area, under those circumstances, he landed on the road because he ran out of fuel as he eas lost, not because of loading an incorrect amount of fuel as eluded to by 90% of the comments here - "dim witted / what's the first rule in the book... To make sure u have enough fuel" sensationalist, ignorant drivel by people who know little about aviation. Besides, I'm not entirely sure what radio coverage is like in the northern cape. If there are black spots in kzn, there sure as heck will be there. Especially at the height he would have been at.

  • peter.jordaan.5 - 2013-01-09 09:18

    Yay good for you. Well it adds to experience .... and something on the cv!!!!

      john.silver.3572846 - 2013-01-09 16:36

      What - running out of FUEL? How fking stupid do you have to be as a pilot to get anywhere close to running short of fuel. Should lose his licence or have to resit his exams. Bad decisions by pilots are the cause of 99% of plane crashes.

      amanda.khumalo.1291 - 2013-01-09 17:54

      @John: do not jump into conclusions, there are many different situations that can lead to one run out of petrol. it has happened more than once to commercial airplanes(in Europe)full of passengers with experienced crews including flight captain. unless you already know what led to this then you can judge

  • Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2013-01-09 09:19

    Brave brave bugger. Just the other I was watching air crash investigation on national geographic. They showed an incident of a pilot that tried to land his jumbo jet, that had lost its engines, on a highway in Georgia and ended up killing bout 100 people on board.

      Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2013-01-09 09:20

      The other day

      john.silver.3572846 - 2013-01-09 16:37

      No brave - stupid. Running out of fuel is inexcusable.

      joe.irwin.50 - 2013-01-10 18:35

      A wee bit of a difference in size may well change the outcome Gcwabe.

  • uriel.thozi - 2013-01-09 09:19

    He must have been a taxi driver before. Santaco Airlines will be glad to hire him.

  • nhlapop - 2013-01-09 09:30

    Running out of fuel.

  • firstseed.mbeva - 2013-01-09 09:33

    I thought checking fuel gauge is part of training

      susan.economakis - 2013-01-09 15:21

      Apparently he ran out of fuel because he was lost.

      napolita.kio - 2013-01-10 09:20

      @susan.economakis - So he must have been circling for a good hour or two trying to find his way, until the fuel ran dry?!?

  • auburn.deleeuw - 2013-01-09 09:35

    He missed my by 2 weeks

  • PrettyUsefulArt - 2013-01-09 09:39

    As brave as this young man is, surely there's a procedure prior to take-off as it relates to checking the airworthiness of the aircraft, which would include sufficient fuel?

  • rollingstone.kanyane - 2013-01-09 09:40

    imagine in the middle of the Atlantic ocean

  • pete.vanderspek - 2013-01-09 09:41

    That aircraft took off again - no ways with that bent prop...... Nice landing though - any landing you can walk away from is a good one. Well done to the pilot!

      john.volsteedt.1 - 2013-01-09 09:58

      Typical of News24, the photo is of another incident that occurred in the Overberg. The one in the story is in Namakwaland.

  • kgotso.selome - 2013-01-09 09:42

    that's great son...

  • msika.bopha.9 - 2013-01-09 09:48

    What an idiot, didn't he realise before take off that there was not enough fuel? Lucky to be alive son. Well done on the safe landing though.

      W33Dee - 2013-01-09 11:35

      It makes for better news than all the negative articles lately over the festive season. "Give that man a Bell's!"

  • craig.lowe.3572 - 2013-01-09 09:49

    I thought the artical said the plane was not damaged, in the photos it looks damaged to me, prop and nose wheel ?

      john.volsteedt.1 - 2013-01-09 09:59

      Different incident that ocurred previously.

      msika.bopha.9 - 2013-01-09 10:08

      Welcome to News24 my friend.

  • barendmliebenberg - 2013-01-09 09:50

    New way to avoid SANRAL

  • auric.goldfinger.3720 - 2013-01-09 10:00

    I am sorry, maybe being stupid here, but isnt the nose gear missing and the prop a bit bent? I thought maybe that would have constituted some damage..if it took off, surely it would have to land again somewhere..hopefully not another emergency landing with buggered up nosegear.

      Pulverturm - 2013-01-09 10:34

      I think the image they've used is from another event if I'm reading the text under the pic correctly.

  • stefan.debeer.37 - 2013-01-09 10:00

    Bad reporting, and misleading. The pictures shown are from an event that happened more than a year ago...

      DuToitCoetzee - 2013-01-09 12:08

      Thank you. I know the road and area well and the background just does not fit in with where they said it happened. It seams that one would have 1st get a professional check on the prop as well, when it clearly stand in a nose dive position, before one will continue flying. From Melkboom(just before Klawer) and onward there are no green growth, specially vineyards, on the mountains's side of the road. The mountains are on the east side of the N7. Maybe I am wrong, but then N24 can give me the GPRS position so that I can go and look for myself. Nah!!!

      fromfritz - 2013-01-09 13:27

      Agreed, on another site, Die Burger, they reported that he was on his way from Saldanha, and not Stellenbosch as reported here.

      msika.bopha.9 - 2013-01-09 14:17

      So, either N24 or Die Burger is misinforming us then. I will take a bet with my life, N24 is the one that got it wrong.

  • dieter.volker - 2013-01-09 10:07


  • Lasba Jones Maphosa - 2013-01-09 10:21

    SAA must hav control over their flights! cos dis thing of planes landing on our national routes seems 2 become a habit!! Next tym Boeing 77 ll lend on de national route

      msika.bopha.9 - 2013-01-09 14:18

      Wow! This has to be my comment of the day.

      glennpoley - 2013-01-09 15:09

      What a bafoon you are Lasba

      steve.maynard.121 - 2013-01-09 16:42

      Dooont wurry. Keep left-pass right.

  • ooijalana - 2013-01-09 10:22

    The instructor should be sanctioned for allowing such a mess to happen. This could have been disastrous.

  • lobert.mhlanga - 2013-01-09 10:30

    Im sure its Zuma's incompitence that led to this plane landing on the Highway.

  • donald.dykman - 2013-01-09 10:35

    hey dumb ass check the juice RULE 1 of becoming a pilot

  • michael.tetley.35 - 2013-01-09 10:38

    The student was probably on a solo navex as part of the required training for his license. As such he would probably not be allowed to use GPS and had to map read, very difficult in that rather featureless part of the country. He was probably lost and as light aircraft fuel gauges can be notoriously unreliable, did the prudent thing and landed while he still had sufficient fuel to make a controlled landing at a place of his choosing. Well done!

  • lsmalope - 2013-01-09 10:48

    ''Plane lands on busy N7 highway ... Fortunately there were not a lot of cars on the N7 at the time''

      kuhle.nco - 2013-01-09 10:54

      iya neh

      Deon - 2013-01-09 15:50

      Maybe the cars thought of 911 and "dissapeared"? Not good reporting and photo of another incident.

  • michael.tetley.35 - 2013-01-09 10:56

    @donald.dykman and others. Be sure of the facts before rushing to judgement and condemnation. This incident has yet to be properly investigated. There may be a number of mitigating factors yet to be ascertained. Dumb Ass!

      lionel.defrontignac - 2013-01-10 15:40

      And one cannot trust news24's accuracy...

  • alan.davis.5249 - 2013-01-09 11:00

    Bad reporting by News24. You can visibly see the propeller is bent(cannot fly), the plane is not standing on it's front wheel(cannot take off) and a picture comment states 3 passengers were also on the plane. Surely there should have been an instructor if he was a student pilot, and surely he should not of had passengers if he was a student. Why did he not know the status of his fuel level? This seems that the picture does NOT go with the story and hi-lights the standard of the pilot training given to this person. Luckily ,as the suspicious report states, there were no injuries. The marvels of engineering that a plane that damaged can fly and we are led to believe that there was NO damage? (just look at the pictures supplied)? Must belong to the government? Shame on bad reporting.

      Desilusionada - 2013-01-09 11:25

      PHOTO CAPTION: Plane lands on Cape Town road The Cessna 210 suddenly developed engine problems while flying a circular route from the Stellenbosch airfield. The pilot was forced to land on R43 between Worcester and Villiersdorp.....

      david.kuhn.5439 - 2013-01-09 12:01

      I agree. The photo is of a cessna 210, where tha article is of a cessna 172. They are two events on two different roads in two different years. Talk about misleading articles, this one takes the cake

  • flysouth - 2013-01-09 11:27

    The story is nonsense - a 'learner' pilot cannot be taking passengers as stated on a caption if you click through the several pictures. And there is no chance that this aircraft took off again after fuel was added - look at it, the prop is bent, the nosegear is removed! Obviously the guy did a shockingly bad landing, even with power. Whenever a prop contacts the ground under power then a 'shock-load' inspection must be done, that's the law - that includes a total tear down of the engine to look for any internal damage and will probably cost more than R150K - what a doofus! Some people are simply not cut out to fly.

      biltong.eldest - 2013-01-09 20:26

      Sheesh after all these years you still get 2 out of 10 for comprehension.

  • ako.gutshwa.7 - 2013-01-09 11:39

    Wow! That was so wonderful,just give that learner a Bells

  • rick.cottle.33 - 2013-01-09 11:43

    Sorry News24 - Fail! Firstly there is no such thing as a learner pilot - it's a Pupil pilot. There is no such thing as a "preventative landing" either. Try "precautionary" (all this pc stuff loses the traditions and mystique that is flying) The instructor either needs a kick up his wazoo or needs to have his instructors rating taken away (or both). Unless the "pupe" got hopelessly lost during a navigation execise there is no excuse for running out of fuel. (and for those that think the associated picture is of the plane in question - wrong! Read the caption.

  • chris.buchner.12 - 2013-01-09 11:51

    Suddenly South africa got a lot more new expert pilots please people be quiet and stop trying to be better than others! Be glad he did the right thing and not crash into your house because he thought he was smarter then you people and know better!

  • JuliusYouPrick - 2013-01-09 12:23

    WTF news24? The pics have nothing to do with the article!

  • thadelphukem.completely - 2013-01-09 12:28

    News24 says the plane wasnt damaged but in the photo's in the article i cant seem to find the front wheel??? Maybe I'm just dof but isnt a plane without a front wheel damaged???

  • mark.darryl.gevisser - 2013-01-09 13:36

    I wonder how SANRAL would have charged this guy toll fees....?

  • willem.leroux.75 - 2013-01-09 13:37

    It does not matter what the pilot did wrong (if he did....), all that counts is he landed safely and lives to tell the tale. Well Done!

  • konrad.rontgen - 2013-01-09 13:42

    The reporter states “the plane was not damaged”. Just by looking at the photos of the plane, it’s clear the nose wheel ripped off and that alone is going to cost a small fortune to repair. Typical of news 24 reporters, can’t put clear facts on paper.

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2013-01-09 13:43

    Wow! Lucky guy....

  • david.cloete.754 - 2013-01-09 13:45

    This is what the comment read in the picture above: The Cessna 210 suddenly developed engine problems while flying a circular route from the Stellenbosch airfield. The pilot was forced to land on R43 between Worcester and Villiersdorp.

  • rudzanimulaudzi.mulaudzi - 2013-01-09 14:07

    This is for the first time when I head that a plane with problem landed safely, well done.

  • selwyn.sischy - 2013-01-09 15:05

    Till more fuel arrived for another takeoff...look at the prop either he had a propstrike or it bent after, but either way that plane was not airworthy for flight!!!

  • neil.lovegrove - 2013-01-09 15:19

    Looks very much to me as if the LEFT LANE had been closed. But then it might have been confusing as the 'BUSY N7' was apparently not busy at all. Strange reporting indeed

  • thedush - 2013-01-09 16:11

    maybe its one of the SANTACO pilots on training, :) he saw people wanted hitch hiking, quick buck :)

  • thedush - 2013-01-09 16:13

    SANTACO Pilot on training :)

  • jan.olivier1 - 2013-01-09 16:28

    No front gear down ? normal landing ? I don't want to see this guy doing an emergency landing

  • michael.rose.3551 - 2013-01-09 17:56

    that cannot be allowed to happen in gauteng because no planes have e-tags to use the highways...

  • WigzellRM - 2013-01-09 20:37

    Great reporting! It is actually known as a precautionary landing. Why do you post photos of an airplane involved in another incident?

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2013-01-10 06:53

    definitely wasn't a good landing with the nose wheel tucked in. But as the saying goes, every landing you can walk away from is a good landing!

  • phil.graham.3762 - 2013-01-10 07:16


  • richard.barrett.739 - 2013-01-10 07:29

    does he have to pay e toll , well done for landing safely

  • simon.carter.5836711 - 2013-01-10 09:07

    A plane running out of fuel and landing on a highway. If that doesn't constitute an emergency landing, what does?

      erdna.warrie - 2013-01-10 09:28

      Pilots are trained for certain scenarios, this includes emergency landings, precautionary landing, EFATO (Engine failure after takeoff) and many more. This was a precautionary landing and not an emergency landing. A procedure for a precautionary landing is to select a landing site, fly a pattern and land into wind. You may issue a "pan pan pan" call over the radio. Emergency landings are different, they require a different dril and a mayday call over the radio. In the event of an emergency landing the ELT must be activated before touchdown. Precautionary landings do not require the ELT to be activated as the landing is controlled with engine power. If the conditions does not look favourable then activate the ELT and make MAYDAY call. The law states that a precautionary landing includes landing due to; weather, lost, fuel or poor visibility if flying VFR. The law also states that you are not allowed to land on a public road, except if it is an emergency or precautionary landing and it is safe. These landings takes time as pilots are trained to fly a pattern and do the drills before landing.

  • david.banner.104418 - 2013-01-10 09:10

    "Busy", you call that a "busy highway". Man you should try some of Joburgs side roads, now that is "Busy".