A two-seater trainer aircraft made an emergency landing on India’s Yamuna expressway on Thursday. Earlier, the Indian Air Force had used this highway as an emergency airstrip and landed its C-130J Super Hercules, Su-30MKI & and other jets.
On May 27, a Cessna 152 (VT-NNN) trainer aircraft made an emergency landing on the Yamuna Expressway, which connects the National Capital Region with the Agra city in Uttar Pradesh.
It one of India’s longest six-lane controlled expressways. The aircrew — the pilot and the trainer — were stated to be safe.
The aircraft was on a cross-country training flight from Aligarh and would overfly Narnaul and then return to its base. However, near the city of Mathura, the aircraft encountered a technical glitch and the pilot, along with the instructor, was left with no choice but to land at the nearest possible airstrip, which they found to be the Yamuna Expressway.
“It was a two-seater trainer aircraft which made an emergency landing on the Yamuna Expressway. The trainer and the trainee are safe. They landed because of a technical glitch,” Gaurav Grover, Mathura’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), was quoted as saying by the Indian daily Hindustan Times.
It is not the first time an aircraft has landed on the expressway. In fact, it is one of India’s few highway lanes where planes can land and take off, owing to the wide lanes and much cleaner traffic.
The Yamuna expressway was the first in India to see Indian Air Force fighter jets testing it as an emergency airstrip. The service, on May 21, 2015, had successfully landed a French Dassault Mirage-2000 on the Expressway near Raya village, Mathura.
The drill was part of more elaborate trials to see how many other highways can be used for emergency landing of military aircraft.
The IAF’s Central Air Command then had a meeting with former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and made a formal presentation to the state government about converting a 3-km straight stretch of the Agra-Lucknow expressway into India’s first road runway which was then inaugurated in 2016.
In October 2017, the IAF conducted a landing exercise of C-130J Super Hercules and touch & go of Su-30MKI and Mirage 2000 on the Agra-Lucknow expressway.
This idea was well received by the service, and in 2019, the federal government made a decision to set up 29 airstrips at national highways at strategic locations for emergency landings of fighter aircraft.
These airstrips were to be made near the international border states of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Manipur, and West Bengal. Three are planned on highways connecting Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh — all Left-wing extremism-affected areas.
Emergency strips are also planned in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, according to Hindustan Times.