State Trooper Thompson's dashboard camera shows the plane jerk left and right as the pilot struggled to land it safely before the junction with another busy road.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on August 2, 2019

In his 21 years of duty, Washington State trooper Clint Thompson had never seen a plane land on a busy road before.

As State Trooper Thompson drove along State Route 7, also known as Pacific Avenue South in Parkland, Pierce County, Washington, he saw a small single-propeller plane, a KR2, coming into view and the cars ahead braking.

He turned his patrol car around and followed the plane, which appeared out of control at times, jerking to the left and right.

Read next: the soaring trend of private jets

Dennis Diessner who was driving down Pacific Avenue at the time of the landing described the incident as “unbelievable”.

“You don’t see a plane landing every day on Pacific Avenue … I realised what it was and I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, he’s gonna land right on me,'” Diessner told KOMO-TV. “When he went by me, I could’ve reached out and touched the tip of his wing. That’s how close I was to that plane.”

Diessner said the pilot got out of the plane after it landed.

“I asked him if he was all right and he kind of nodded his head (and) I kept going,” said Diessner. “But, that was scary.”

Jason Piersall saw the plane coming right at him and realised it was about to hit his car.

“We had to dodge the plane. As soon as we turned off the road, the plane touched down. The guy was all over the place, but he saved it. It was pretty cool,” laughed Piersall.

The dashcam footage shows State Trooper Thompson approach the plane, knocked on its fuselage and demand “Licence and registration, sir.” He had turned on his flashing lights and his dashboard camera when he turned around, blocking traffic as he followed the plane’s descent. The plane stopped at the junction of 138th street as the traffic lights were red.

Pilot David Acklam told KOMO-TV that he was flying the single-seat plane to work from a small airstrip in Yelm when he suddenly lost power. He searched for a safe place to land and aimed for the two northbound lanes of the busy State Route 7.

“Probably saved me from either serious injury or death,” said Acklam. “And somebody else from getting into a car crash with a plane. So thanks to the state patrol, and it’s a good day to be alive.”

For Thompson, it was a first in his long career on the road.

“In 21 years, I would say that’s the first time I ever went across the radio and said that there’s a plane that landed on Pacific Avenues,” said Thompson.

The US Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.