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Military lands planes on Michigan roadway

An A-10 takes off from M-32 outside of Alpena on Thursday, August 5. / Video Courtesy of Julie Riddle, The Alpena News

In 2018, Michigan Air National Guard planes landed on highways in Estonia as part of a military exercise.

August 5, military planes landed on a closed stretch of highway outside of Alpena.

When four A-10 and two C-146 aircraft landed on a section of M-32 outside of Alpena, it marked the first time modern military planes have purposefully landed on a highway in America.

Officials say the exercise is designed to help pilots learn to operate in less-than-ideal environments.

Colonel Matt Robins is the commander of the 127th Operations Group out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

He said landing and taking off from a stretch of highway complicates the jobs of everyone involved.

“The big difference from the pilot’s perspective, it’s really the length and the width, so it’s a bit more challenging for the pilots,” Robins said. “For our airmen and maintainers and so on, it certainly complicates their jobs of being able to literally turn the aircraft around and then do an Airforce turn, meaning put fuel, bombs, bullets in it.”

Robins said the landings are a part of Operation Northern Strike, an annual military training exercise out of Camp Grayling which will continue through the 14th.