Roadway Runway: Small Plane makes Emergency landing on Virginia Roadway

In a dramatic turn of events on a Friday afternoon, a small passenger plane originating from Washington Dulles International Airport found itself making an emergency landing just moments after takeoff, touching down on a highway in northern Virginia. The Virginia State Police were alerted to the situation, reporting that a private aircraft was making an emergency landing in Loudoun County shortly before 1 p.m. that day.

The pilot, exhibiting remarkable skill and composure, managed to execute a safe landing of the single-engine Cessna 208 Caravan in the westbound lanes of Route 606 / Loudoun County Parkway. Fortunately, the emergency landing was accomplished without incident, as the pilot skillfully avoided any collisions with vehicles on the highway. Authorities on the scene reported that the only damage sustained was to the guardrail on the right side of the parkway. Despite the successful landing, the parkway remained closed to the public as investigators assessed the situation, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic update at 3 p.m.

Southern Airways Express Flight 246, the identified aircraft, had been en route to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, carrying five passengers, among them a 15-year-old boy. Miraculously, no injuries were reported among the passengers, the pilot, 27-year-old Ahmed Awais from Florida, or the co-pilot.

Notably, Washington Dulles International Airport remained unaffected by the emergency landing, continuing its operations for takeoffs and landings without disruption. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesperson James Johnson confirmed this in an email response to USA TODAY.

Southern Airways Express CEO Stan Miller expressed relief at the absence of injuries, commending the pilot’s adherence to safety protocols. In a statement, Miller thanked the pilots for their exemplary response, affirming the airline’s dedication to cooperating fully with authorities during a comprehensive investigation. The airline also pledged to take all necessary precautions to guarantee the safety and security of its passengers and crew members.

While the specific reasons necessitating the emergency landing on a highway were not disclosed by authorities, both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were promptly informed of the incident. An ongoing investigation is now underway to uncover the circumstances leading to the unexpected landing.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Palm Beach, Florida, Southern Airways Express operates as a commuter airline boasting a fleet of over 30 aircraft. The airline serves 40 U.S. cities, extending its reach from Nantucket Island in Massachusetts to Honolulu, Hawaii. Southern Airways Express also holds the distinction of being an interline partner with major carriers such as American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.

As the FAA and NTSB delve into the details surrounding this unforeseen incident, Southern Airways Express remains committed to transparency and ensuring the safety of its operations. Passengers, aviation enthusiasts, and industry stakeholders eagerly await the results of the ongoing investigation, hoping to gain a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances leading to this unexpected and daring highway landing.