Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration said Matthew Conway was flying his six-passenger 1996 Piper Saratoga to Peachtree-DeKalb Airport shortly before 5 p.m. Monday when the engine failed over Interstate 85, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday.
Bergen said the plane, which has a 40-foot wing span, clipped trees on its way down to the southbound lanes of the road, but Conway was able to avoid striking any other vehicles.
Authorities said I-85 traffic was blocked for about an hour.
William Smith, DeKalb County deputy fire chief, complimented the pilot's skills.
"At that point, you have about 30 seconds to make a decision ... . He probably saw 85 and went to land," Smith said. "My hat's off to the pilot. He did a good job landing that plane."
The FAA was investigating the cause of the engine failure.