Pilot details landing on Lake Shore Drive - FOX 32 News Chicago

Pilot details landing on Lake Shore Drive

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

When he's not working as an electrician, 51-year-old John Pedersen is in his basement restoring dozens of pinball machines.

And when he's not doing that he's flying high, usually above Chicago's skyline but this morning...

"I was right about Willis Tower and then all the sudden the plane just shook and vibrated violently… The plane was shaking and I thought it was going to break up in the sky so that's when I made a mayday call," said Pedersen.

With only five years of flying experience, Pedersen made an emergency landing on the heavily traveled Lake Shore Drive and survived to talk about it.

"You fly safe and try to do everything in your power to make a safe flight," said Pedersen.

He was near Buckingham Fountain but his single engine two-seater green and white aircraft became the main attraction.

"I just thought well this is it," said Pedersen.

Pedersen is thankful to be alive to laugh about the surprise landing.

"It's a wonderful feeling. Any landing that you can walk away from is a good landing," said Pedersen.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it could be several weeks before its investigation is complete.

"The FAA is going to look at it but basically the trim tab, which is a little elevator on a big elevator which controls the pitch of the aircraft, that broke off, which started flopping around which then made the big elevator flop around," said Pedersen.

"He's been asking me to get on the plane. I said ok, I was considering it but then from what I saw when I got down there, flying is out of the question but you know he's ok, that's what's important. The plane can be repaired, fixed, replaced but human life, no," said Pedersen's fiancé Illeana Alvarez.

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