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Pilot Pulls Off Successful Emergency Landing

ZELIENOPLE (KDKA)- It was a rough landing for one pilot at the Zelienople Municipal Airport Sunday afternoon.

The plane was several minutes away from the airport when the pilot, Ross Edmondson, tried to deploy the landing gear. The instrument panel notified Edmondson and his passenger that one of the landing gears wouldn't go down.

They called to the airport for help. The airport sent another plane in the air to check and see if the landing gear was in fact stuck.

"When we came to put our landing gear down, we found the landing gear legs, the rear right landing gear wouldn't come down fully," Edmondson said.

The plane circled the airport for about an hour to burn off all the fuel in one of its tanks.

Edmondson was able to guide the plane down to the runway at 65 miles per hour and make a gentle landing on the belly of the plane.

He could have opted to land it on two of the three wheels, but Edmondson said that would be more dangerous.

"There's more chance for the aircraft to veer off course and for damage to occur, and more importantly, for people to get injured. Together, with the people on the ground, we decided to leave all the landing gear up and just come to a gentle landing on the belly," he said.

Landing gear failure 9/14/14 Zelienople Airport by Mike Lemmo on YouTube

The single-engine 1971 Piper Arrow gently touched down and stopped shortly after hitting the runway. Neither Edmondson or his passenger, a student pilot, were hurt.

Edmondson says he has flown with a partial engine failure before, but never had to deal without landing gear. He says practice makes perfect.

"Yeah, i feel perfectly calm, glad it worked out well.  It's the kind of emergency you practice for and train for, and it's nice that it all works out the right way in reality," said Edmondson.

The plane was loaded on to a truck and towed away for inspection.

The plane is shared by the members of the Condor Aero Club at Zelienople Municipal Airport. The club shares six planes among the 100 members.

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