Pilot who landed on I-75: 'My training took over'

Instructor Michael Moore was with student when plane lost power near Gainesville

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. - A seasoned flight instructor who experienced an engine failure while flying with a student said a gap in traffic allowed him to safely land on a busy Alachua County highway.

News4Jax first shared the cellphone video of the landing Thursday. It shows the Sunrise Aviation pilot, Michael Moore, make the emergency landing on I-75 just south of Gainesville.

"I'm not going to lie to you. I was pretty scared," Moore said. "Fortunately, those emotions went away. The thoughts went away, and my training took over."

Moore, a Navy veteran, knew how critical his decision-making would be. The plane's engine lost power midflight, leaving him and his student in desperate need of a place to put the aircraft down.

"Once we saw I-75, I noticed there were a lot of cars on the interstate," Moore said. "The only thing I was worried about was whether or not the cars would realize that I needed to put the plane down."

UNCUT: Pilot speaks about emergency landing |
READ: Small plane lands on I-75 near Gainesville

As the video shows, Moore took advantage of a gap in traffic and executed a flawless landing. He isn't sure if he could do it a second time, but said the ordeal won't keep him out of the skies.

"That was my calling and I felt like I needed to continue flying -- not only to give back my knowledge to the students coming forth into the aviation career, but (to) those who aspire to be in it as well," Moore said.

The cause of the engine failure has not been determined. The student on board the plane said he plans to continue with his training.

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