Plane with 3 aboard lands without landing gear at Australian airport

May 13, 2024
2,274 Views

MELBOURNE, Australia — A light plane with three people aboard landed safely without landing gear Monday after circling an Australian airport for almost three hours to burn off fuel.

The twin-turboprop Beechcraft Super King Air had just taken off from Newcastle Airport north of Sydney for a 112-mile flight north to Port Macquarie when the pilot raised the alarm, officials said.

The plane landed on the tarmac around three hours later at 12:20 p.m. apparently without incident, video showed.

Fire engines and ambulances were among emergency services standing at the ready.

A police statement said the plane had “mechanical issues,” while Australian Broadcasting Corp. cited an unnamed police officer saying the landing gear had failed. The plane is owned by Port Macquarie-based Eastern Air Services, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aviation safety expert Ron Bartsch said the pilot would have decided to return to Newcastle because the airport had better emergency response resources than was available at Port Macquarie.

“The pilot has done quite a copy book landing and got everybody on the ground safely, and that’s the most important outcome,” Bartsch said. “The situation could’ve been a lot worse.”

“They have to shut off the fuel, shut off the electrics to reduce the chance of a fire upon doing a belly-up landing. But obviously the pilot has done this text book-style and safe outcome,” Bartsch added.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau would investigate what happened.

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