Landing Gear Fails, Plane Makes Emergency Landing


The pilot of a single-engine plane made an emergency landing at Burbank Airport on Wednesday after his landing gear failed to deploy and another plane accident prevented him from setting down at Van Nuys Airport, authorities said.

In a moment captured by live television, the Piper Comanche PA-24-250 passed a concrete taxiway and descended on a dirt infield as a flight instructor shouted “come on” and “hold it, hold it, hold it” over an aircraft radio channel.

The pilot, a 23-year-old Burbank resident, ran from the plane moments after it came to a stop. He was not injured.


The plane suffered damage to its propeller and underside, Burbank Airport officials said.

Los Angeles City Fire Department spokesman Jim Wells said the pilot first reported problems with his landing gear at 1:41 p.m., and radioed ahead to land at Van Nuys Airport.

But the plane was kept circling because moments earlier, a vintage biplane skidded out of control and tipped onto its nose during a landing at Van Nuys.

The pilot of the 1942 single-engine Stearman and a passenger escaped injury, said Richard French, spokesman for the Van Nuys Airport. There was minor damage to the plane.

Two landing strips at Van Nuys Airport were blocked for about half an hour while the aircraft was being towed to a hangar, French said.

The Piper Stearman had been scheduled to carry wing walkers during the Millennium Celebration at Van Nuys Airport on New Year’s Eve.

Airport officials said it was unclear whether the plane would fly for the celebration.


This story has been edited to reflect a correction to the original published text. The correct spelling of the airplane is Stearman, not Steerman.


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