Trailer Talk

Airplane Hits Trailer in 'Amazing' Encounter

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

May 11, 2017

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The airplane left part of its landing gear, including a wheel and tire, near the left-front corner of the 53-foot van. Photo: Sandusky Register
The airplane left part of its landing gear, including a wheel and tire, near the left-front corner of the 53-foot van. Photo: Sandusky Register

It’s not every day that an airplane hits a truck, which is why the mishap on Wednesday made news, at least locally. It happened about 4 p.m. along Route 53 in northwest Ohio, and the Sandusky Register covered it right away.

It seems Russ Street, a driver for Sandusky-based South Shore Transportation, was northbound on the highway, minding his own business, when the eastbound plane, a twin-engine Piper, was on its final approach to Fremont Airport.

The plane came in too low and its landing gear clipped the top of the South Shore van, tearing off and embedding itself in the roof and side panels. The plane continued on and its pilot made a safe belly landing. Neither the 71-year-old pilot nor the truck driver was hurt.  

“I was just driving down Ohio 53, and I heard a boom,” Street told the newspaper. “It rocked the trailer. I thought the semi was going over… I thought I had blown a couple tires.”

“It’s frickin’ amazing,” laughed Kevin Tomlinson, maintenance director for South Shore Transportation, the truck’s owner, in a call with me. “It’s not just what’s on the road any more, it’s what’s up above.”

The van is a 53-foot Stoughton that had carried a load into Indiana, he said, and Street was returning it empty to Gypsum, Ohio, near South Shore’s home base, for another load. Tomlinson was at a conference in Arizona when he learned of the incident in a call from a manager.

Thursday morning he hadn’t yet seen the trailer so didn’t know the extent of the damage or how much it would cost to fix it. Tomlinson had been at the first Heavy Duty Trucking eXchange, a forum for trucking managers and suppliers, in Scottsdale.

He mentioned the incident to Deborah Lockridge, HDT’s editor in chief, who alerted me to the story. That’s how the news business sometimes works.

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Author Bio

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Tom Berg

Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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