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DISASTER AVERTED IN WINDY CITY

Mechanical issues force pilot to land in road

2 cars hit wing on Lake Shore Drive but drive off

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A plane is parked near Lake Shore Drive in Chicago on Sunday after the pilot, John Pedersen, made an emergency landing because of mechanical issues. He landed in the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near Grant Park, authorities said.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES Enlarge

CHICAGO — The pilot of a single-engine plane made an emergency landing early Sunday along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive because of mechanical issues.

John Pedersen told the Chicago Sun-Times he was flying over the lakefront about 6 a.m. when an elevator on his experimental plane broke, causing the aircraft to shake.

“I thought the plane was going to break apart,” he said.

He landed in the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near Grant Park, authorities said.

“There’s always a risk. I always look for a place to land,” said Mr. Pedersen, who’s been a pilot for five years.

Chicago police said no one was injured. Traffic on the iconic roadway along Lake Michigan was back to normal within a few hours, Chicago police spokesman Jose Estrada said.

Mr. Pedersen, 51, of the Chicago suburb of Lombard, said two cars hit the plane’s left wing after he landed, but drove off. The plane was later pushed off the roadway into the grass.

“This could have been fatal, been much worse. The toughest thing now is getting it out of here,” Chicago Police Sgt. Craig Roberts said.

Police said Mr. Pedersen won’t be issued a citation.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Elizabeth Isham Cory said only one person was aboard and that the agency would investigate, which would take several weeks. She said the plane’s point of departure and intended destination were still being determined.

FAA records show the plane, a RANS S-6 Coyote II, was built in 2003.

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