Small Plane With Engine Failure Lands on Chicago Road

CHICAGO (Chicago Tribune/TNS) -

Audio from the Midway Airport control tower tells the tale of the pilot who had to make an emergency landing in a small blue-and-yellow single-propeller plane in traffic on South Lake Shore Drive Friday afternoon.

Before the successful landing, the pilot called into the Midway control tower, “Midway tower … mayday, mayday, mayday,” he said, according to audio from

“Midway, go ahead,” an operator responded.

“Yes, sir, just south of the shoreline here. … We have an impartial-power, engine failure.”

The operator responded, trying to encourage the pilot to land at Midway, “Roger. Proceed direct to the airport and you can plane in runway 22 left.”

“Negative, sir, unable,” the pilot responded. “We’ll be somewhere down here on the shoreline.”

“And are you going to be able to make it to Lake Shore Drive?” the operator asked, giving a second option.

“Can you give me a direction on that?”

“Lake Shore Drive should be right up underneath you, right off to your right-hand side, sir.”

“OK, that closest on the water here?”

“Yeah, it follows just the, it goes straight down the lakeshore.”

“OK, we got it, sir. … We’re going on Lake Shore Drive here.”

The plane landed a little after 3:15 p.m. Just before 6 p.m., officials closed southbound Lake Shore Drive to allow the plane to be removed.

The man piloting the small plane landed it on the side of the southbound drive after the plane started experiencing some sort of mechanical problem, and neither he nor his passenger were injured, said Larry Merritt, a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department.

Where the unidentified pilot and his passenger were going and where they flew from “are still being determined,” said Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Chicago office, said in an email.