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Small plane lands on San Jose street

Published: Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – A small plane landed safely amid the Thursday morning commute on a city street in the heart of Silicon Valley.

San Jose police spokeswoman Sgt. Heather Randol said shortly after takeoff around 8 a.m. the pilot experienced a malfunction and made the emergency landing on the city’s Capitol Expressway. It’s unclear what the malfunction was.

Neither the pilot nor the passenger on board was injured, and no one on the ground was hurt. There was no visible damage to the plane, Randol said.

The Bellanca Citabria took off from Reed-Hillview airport at 7:56 a.m., said Laura Brown, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The pilot advised Air Traffic he needed to return to the airport shortly after taking off,” Brown said.

The aircraft landed on the expressway’s southbound lanes at 7:59 a.m., counter to the morning commute. It managed to avoid power lines and traffic and pulled off into a right-turn lane, according to Randol.

“It required some skill on (the pilot’s) part,” Randol said. “We’re just thankful nobody got injured.”

Police arrived on the scene within five minutes and traffic was only lightly affected on the major San Jose artery.

The plane was hauled away Thursday morning by a small car or golf cart, Randol said.

The fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft is owned by Amelia Reid Aviation LLC, a company that operates a flight training school out of nearby Reid Hillview in east San Jose, according to the FAA.

A woman who answered the phone at the school, now called AeroDynamic Aviation, said they had no comment.

The landing comes a few months after a similar sight on Southern California roadways. A small plane landed on a dirt embankment between Interstate 405 in Long Beach and airport runways. The pilot walked away with minor injuries and the plane did not collide with any vehicles.

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