Drivers on the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills, California, outside of Los Angeles got a shock yesterday when a World-War-II-era aircraft wearing Luftwaffe paint landed on the road. The pilot was able to walk away from the plane, but it caught fire, which forced authorities to close the busy highway while they handled the blaze.
The plane was a North American T-6 Texan, specifically the SNJ-5 variant for the Navy, and it reportedly belonged to The Condor Squadron. The group owns several of these restored aircraft and flies them in formation for events like parades, celebrations, and memorials.
An onlooker reported hearing the plane's engine sputtering before it landed. The T-6's pilot, a professional who flies for Alaska Airlines, was able to bring down the aircraft safely without striking any traffic on the freeway. Hitting the center divider caused it to go up in flames, though. Crews were eventually able to extinguish the blaze, but the fire completely engulfed the fuselage. Putting this warbird back together might not be possible.
The T-6 was primarily used as a training aircraft for new pilots in the U.S. military during World War II and remained in service for decades afterward. Some militaries around the world even used them in combat. With production totaling over 15,000 units, many of the planes have survived to continue flying today.
Oddly, this T-6 wore the livery of the World War II German Luftwaffe, complete with camouflage and Balkenkreuz crosses on the wings. This is so weird because the T-6 would have never flown for the Germans during the war.