(NewsNation) — Brock Peters, a teen pilot, was forced to make an emergency landing along a California highway while flying his grandmother and cousins to get breakfast.
The 18-year-old was flying from Apple Valley to Riverside Municipal Airport, about 65 miles away, to get a meal when his single-engine plane lost power.
Without enough time to make it to the airport, he safely landed the plane along California’s U.S. Route 66.
“As soon as the boom happened, I immediately lost all my engine power. So, I went through my whole emergency checklist to try and restart the engine,” Peters explained. At the same time, I’m looking for a place to land just in case I can’t get the plane restarted. After multiple unsuccessful attempts, I couldn’t get the engine restarted.”
Peters said he was nervous but he was able to stay calm, and his training helped prepare him for his safe landing.
“This is one of the things that we train for as student pilots. We train for emergency landings, but we usually do that around the airport,” he explained. So, you know, my instructor will pull the power and then I’ll set up for an emergency landing. And if you kind of butcher that one, you can just put the throttle back in and go around and try it again. But this time it was you got one shot to do it.
Peters said he decided to land on Route 66 because it was the only clear area around him.
“I’m looking at fields below and from the area, I know that these fields are full of trees, and rocks, and if I land there we’re going to get seriously injured and the plane is going to be completely torn apart,” he said in recalling his process for looking for a place to land.
“I had a car in front of me that was going the same direction I was landing, about 150 feet,” Peters recalled. “They were no factor to me. Then I had a car coming towards me when I was landing. They pulled over to the side, and at that point, I had the whole road to myself.”
Peters said news of his landing spread quickly and his instructors called to congratulate him on the successful landing.
“My instructors, they called me; they were just saying ‘good job.’ Then (California Highway Patrol) told my dad that I have ice in my veins,” he said, laughing.