Damaged plane safely lands at Coweta airport
by Wes Mayer
A pilot was able to safely land at the Newnan-Coweta County Airport on Sunday after reporting he was having trouble with his plane’s landing gear.
On Sunday afternoon, units with the Coweta County Fire Department were dispatched to the Newnan-Coweta County Airport – Whitlock Field to stand by as an aircraft with electrical issues was flying back to the airport. According to Assistant Fire Chief Alan Smith, Engine 4 arrived on scene, met with airport officials and learned a dual-engine plane with two occupants was reportedly having issues with its landing gear and was flying back to the airport.
The airport was placed on lockdown, Smith said, and emergency protocols went into effect. Fire personnel were able to get into direct contact with the pilot, who said he had about three and a half hours of fuel on board, and Smith contacted Atlanta Fire Rescue to request its Crash Unit considering there was enough time for Atlanta units to arrive. Rhino Services, a metro Atlanta industrial and environmental cleaning contractor, was also contacted to respond with fuel displacement materials.
When the pilot arrived at the airport, he requested to perform a flyby for airport and emergency authorities to check the landing gear, and, according to Smith, the landing gear was not lowered. Because of this, crews in Engines 1 and 4 and Truck 1 were staged in the runway for fire suppression, Rescue 1 was staged for extrication, and Airlife was placed on standby.
The pilot then requested a second flyby to see if he was able to lower the landing gear manually, Smith said, and authorities noticed the landing gear was partially down. Although, time was apparently running out by the third flyby, and the pilot said he was beginning to lose more electrical components.
The landing gear appeared to be completely down after the third flyby, but authorities asked the pilot to fly around until other units arrived on scene. The pilot, however, said he was continuing to lose more electrical components, so he needed to land the plane.
Two other planes were allowed to land first and to move out of the area, and fire department units stood by as the damaged plane attempted to land. According to Smith, the plane landed successfully and units trailed the plane until it came to a complete stop – one front tire appeared to be flat and the brakes were smoking.
Smith said both occupants were able to exit the plane without injuries and Atlanta Fire Rescue, Rhino Services and Airlife were all canceled.