It’s safe to say that when Craig Gifford pulled out his single-engine plane for a ride earlier this week, he hadn’t been planning on Minnesota’s 35W freeway for his landing strip. Still, that’s exactly where he ended up — and state officials have footage of the emergency landing outside St. Paul, in which no one was injured.
Video of the incident shows Gifford’s Bellanca Viking plane narrowly dodging two vehicles before sideswiping an SUV as the aircraft skids to a stop.
It remains unclear what caused the emergency landing. But luckily Gifford, the 52-year-old Minneapolis resident identified by authorities as the pilot, was better equipped than most to handle the unexpected Wednesday night.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation said it was “impressed by the pilot’s effort to #zippermerge from above!”
Experimental Aircraft Association spokesman Dick Knapinski told The Associated Press that Gifford is a competitive aerobatic pilot, who has represented the U.S. in international competition. He even has a bronze from the team’s flight in the 2017 world aerobatic championships in South Africa.