SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Amateur pilot James Riordan has been in a few scrapes in his 30 years of flying, but this represented a major test: a conked-out engine and no obvious place to land. So the 63-year-old Cameron Park, Calif., businessman made an emergency landing Saturday morning on Highway 50 in El Dorado Hills, Calif., touching down between two moving vehicles in his small homebuilt aircraft. He clipped the rear of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, spun and crashed — but walked away without a scratch from the 11 a.m. incident. The occupants of the car were unhurt as well. "It was a ride," Riordan said with a chuckle. He said officers with the California Highway Patrol "commended me for the ability to land between cars." Riordan and a group of friends were flying their planes from Auburn to Cameron Park's airport, known as Cameron Airpark. Riordan was alone in a Rans S-9, a single-seat, single-engine plane used in air shows and general aviation. Like many Rans owners, Riordan built the plane himself from a kit. Riordan said he's been in two other crashes. This marked the first problems he's had with this plane, which he built a year ago. About four miles shy of Cameron Park, the engine died. Riordan decided he couldn't make the airport and veered west. At first he couldn't find a landing spot in the foothills terrain. "The biggest thing in my mind was not hurting anyone else," he said. He then realized he could land on Highway 50 and "started to look for a spot between cars." He found an opening near the freeway at El Dorado Hills Boulevard, between two vehicles heading west. Just as he was about to touch down, he said the front vehicle, the Jeep, slowed up slightly. Riordan's right wingtip clipped the Jeep. The plane spun and the landing gear broke off. But Riordan, who was wearing a special safety harness, was "absolutely unscathed," he said. The plane wound up on a strip of asphalt between the freeway and the westbound off-ramp. The California Highway Patrol closed the ramp briefly. CHP declined to release the identities of the Jeep's occupants. Riordan's flying friends arrived and helped him disassemble his plane, which was towed to the airpark. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.