TDOT: Small plane makes emergency landing on I-40 East

The pilot was the only person on board the plane, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Additional information has not been released at this time.
Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 12:52 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 21, 2023 at 1:55 PM CST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A small plane made an emergency landing on the interstate, causing congestion in Knox County Saturday afternoon.

Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesperson Mark Nagi said the plane made the landing on I-40 East near the Papermill Drive exit.

The TDOT Smartway map stated the “disabled vehicle” was reported at mile marker 383 just after 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 21. The eastbound right lane and shoulder reopened at 3:30 p.m. after being closed for nearly two hours.

Nagi said there were no significant injuries reported. The Knoxville Police Department shared the pilot was okay, and it was not believed that any vehicles were struck.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said only the pilot was on board the Zenith 750 when it crashed.

The pilot, Frank Grubbs, told WVLT News that he had been flying for less than 40 minutes when the engine failed. At that point, the man said he remained calm and landed on the highway.

Other than the front wheel being destroyed, Grubbs said the plane was in good condition.

The plane was loaded on a wrecker and removed from the interstate Saturday evening.