One year after the vintage World War II TBM Avenger’s 18-year-long restoration, this pilot is forced to emergency land off the shore – and does so as he narrowly avoids a crowded beach.
What a landing! While flying at the Cocoa Beach Air Show Saturday, April 17, the pilot of a vintage TBM Avenger began experiencing mechanical issues. With no other options, said pilot is forced into an emergency ditching off the Atlantic Florida coast.
Shocking footage Sunday shows the pilot narrowly avoiding the crowded Cocoa Beach shore as swimmers and vacationers dive out harms way. It’s an intense moment that this pilot, along with many other Floridians, will never forget.
“It is painful to see a vintage TBM Avenger go down, but the pilot did well to safely ditch the plane after experiencing a mechanical issue while performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show yesterday,” posts the U.S. Naval Institute to Twitter Sunday.
“The Avenger had only been flying for a year after undergoing an 18-year restoration,” the Navy notes.
Several bystanders can be seen taking straight for the WWII aircraft after the landing to aid the pilot. Watch the harrowing landing for yourself below, and rest assured that the pilot made a safe exit:
No Injuries As Pilot’s Emergency Landing Shocks Cocoa Beach, FL
Thankfully, no injuries have come from the incident, cites local Florida Today. Despite “dozens” of onlookers finding themselves in the direct landing path of the Avenger, all parties – including the pilot – were able to safely navigate the situation. This remarkable ocean-crash-landing, certainly, could’ve ended far worse.
The news agency also points to footage shot by Melanie Schrader of Eau Gallie. Within, the plane’s single propeller can be seen “no longer spinning as it glides toward the shallow water.”
Known as “ditching” in the aviation industry, landing an aircraft on water is a rare occurrence. Having to do so, however, is nearly always part of a “controlled landing” that is more likely to result in the recovery of both the pilot and aircraft.
Despite the rarity of “ditching,” all pilots and crewmen must train for ditching. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, around a dozen ditchings occur each year.
As for the plane itself, the TBM Avenger is an American torpedo bomber from WWII. Also known as Gunnman TBF Avengers, the TBM designation comes into play for the planes that General Motors built.