Passenger plane lands safely after landing gear failure

Watch the moment the plane touches down

Source: X

A pilot being hailed for his calm handling of a mid-air emergency that led to an emergency landing at Newcastle Airport on Monday.

The pilot was one of three people aboard the Eastern Air Services Beechcraft Super King Air plane that landed in what has been described as a “textbook” wheels-up landing shortly before 12.30pm on Monday.

It followed hours of circling above the airport after it reported technical issues a few minutes into its flight to Port Macquarie on Monday.

Port Stephens-Hunter police district commander Wayne Humphrey said the pilot, a 53-year-old Queensland man, decided to stay close to Newcastle after noticing the issues with the plane’s landing gear.

“As a result, it was determined the aircraft landing gear would not come back down, and he stayed here and burnt off fuel,” he said.

“After some hours in the air, about 90 minutes burning off sufficient fuel, he made a textbook wheels-up landing – which I was very happy to see – on the runway.”

The plane’s two passengers were a 60-year-old man and 65-year-old woman, both from Tuggerawong on the NSW central coast.

Neither they nor the pilot was injured.

The plane landed shortly before 12.30pm on Monday, to cheers from a large crowd of emergency service workers and the public who had gathered at the airport.

“We applauded. Of course we did. Nobody got hurt. We’re very happy,” Humphrey said.

He said the trio got themselves out of the grounded plane.

“No one was taken to hospital. They were checked over and not transported,” Humphrey said.

“I believe they jumped in their car and drove home.”

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will investigate, but Humphrey said the issue appeared to be a mechanical failure.

“We rehearse this a lot … I’m very happy, even more happy that no one was injured. So it’s a process, we go through the process, do our jobs,” he said.

“It was a mechanical failure, nothing untoward.”

Humphrey said he was at a base aviation safety meeting when the alert came about the Beechcraft Super King Air.

“We all left the meeting and went straight into operational mode and worked very well,” he said.

An operations base was set up at the adjacent RAAF Williamtown base, and the plane was met by more than a dozen ambulance, police, fire trucks and SES crews.

The airport will be closed for the remainder of Monday for the Beechcraft Super King Air to be recovered and the runway checked.

“The early indication is that if there was any damage on the runway, it would be superficial at best. But that will be a matter for the air force and Newcastle Airport to work through,” Humphrey said.

The Beechcraft Super King Air can carry about a dozen passengers.

Eastern Air Services specialises in charter flights to Port Macquarie and Lord Howe Island.

Topics: NSW
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