THE LOOP — A plane dealing with mechanical problems made an emergency landing on Lake Shore Drive Sunday morning, fire officials said.
Pilot John Pedersen, 51, of Lombard, landed his RANS S-6ES Coyote II on Lake Shore Drive at Jackson Drive at about 6 a.m. Pedersen landed the craft in the northbound lane, and there were no injuries, police said.
Flying out of Schaumburg, the plane began experiencing tail-control inssues, fire officials said.
Pederson watched for traffic gaps before landing on Lake Shore Drive. The Chicago Fire Department helped push the plane into the grass from the pavement, according to fire officials.
Pedersen said a piece of the tail came loose as he was circling downtown causing the plane "to shake vigorously." He dispatched a mayday call to air-control operators at O’Hare International Airport and knew the drive was his best option to land, he said.
“There’s no way I could’ve gotten to Midway or O’Hare, or my home airport,” he said. "I was afraid I was going to lose control at any second. I was able to maintain control throughout the whole ordeal but, I was waiting for something catastrophic to happen just because of the way it was shaking."
He landed safely in the middle lane, he said, but two cars clipped his wing and drove off. The cars were stopped at a red light when he landed.
The 2002 RANS S-6ES Coyote II is in good shape and he has logged 140 hours in it, Pedersen said this morning. It passed a recent annual inspection, and Pedersen said he’s diligent about upkeep.
“There’s never been a structural failure in this particular aircraft. I feel very safe in it,” he said. “There’s always unknowns.
Penderson has logged more than 270 hours of flight time and has been flying for about five years, he said.
Despite the emergency protocol, Pedersen was in good spirits Sunday morning.
"Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing," he said.