Vintage Plane With WWII-Era Luftwaffe Markings Crash Lands on California Highway
That’s…not the best look.
Ever show up to a Halloween party and find out you're the only one wearing a costume? It could be worse. You could have crash-landed your World War II-era warplane in full Luftwaffe regalia on a busy highway in one of the most progressive areas in the country—like this unfortunate (and uninjured, thankfully) gentleman in southern California on Tuesday afternoon.
KLTA reports the plane—identified by our Tyler Rogoway as a North American AT-6 Texan—went down on the 101 Freeway just outside Los Angeles around 2pm local time, striking the center divider before coming to rest nose-down in the northbound lanes. Early pictures from witnesses show the T-6's structure stayed remarkably intact during the crash landing, but a fire quickly broke out and eventually consumed the entire body, leaving just the wings and a charred engine behind.
The New York Times reports the AT-6 trainer was part of a local vintage aircraft group known as the Condor Squadron. The group's president told the Times that the unidentified pilot, who flies for Alaska Airlines, did an excellent job bringing the plane down without hitting any cars or endangering anyone else. The road will be closed in both directions for an undetermined amount of time, according to the California Highway Patrol.
As to why it's bearing the markings of the Nazis' famed air force, the Condor Squadron reportedly performs mock dogfights at air shows. Lower-value vintage planes like the AT-6 are often dressed up to look like WWII-era fighters, so this isn't actually a case of highly questionable cosplay gone awry. Still, no one wants to be the guy crashing a Nazi plane on a California highway.
This is the second time in less than a week that a plane has ended up on a public road in the state—on Friday, a flight instructor gave his student a crash course in emergency landings when he was forced to ditch on Interstate 8 outside San Diego. C'mon guys, the traffic is bad enough down here already.