CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A private plane had to make an emergency landing at Charleston’s Yeager Airport after experiencing mechanical problems with its nose gear.
A 1976 Piper PA twin engine aircraft landed on its nose just before 4 p.m. Tuesday after circling the airport for over an hour.
All three people on board were able to exit the aircraft safely. No one was hurt.
“They’re a little nervous, but they’re glad to be off and safe and away from the aircraft at this time,” said Yeager Airport Director Terry Sayre. “I think this was the best outcome we could’ve had here today.”
The plane was removed from the runway just after 5 p.m. There was no significant damage to the plane. The runway was closed for less than an hour after landing. Only one commercial flight was diverted during that time.
The mechanical problem was first reported to Yeager’s Emergency Response Center at 2 p.m. Officials said the nose gear was at a 30 degree angle before landing.
Airport officials said the plane was flying from Frederick, Maryland to do aerial surveying in West Virginia. The aircraft is based out of Jersey City, New Jersey.
Sayre commended the pilot during a press conference moments after the successful landing.
“I thought that pilot did an excellent job at the pace he came in, the way he slowed it down and how he kept it back off the nose gear. I thought he did a really great job,” he said.
The airport was more prepared this time following a fatal cargo plane crash in May, Sayre said.
“We have contractors on standby now with bulldozers in case there’s an aircraft that runs off the runway over the hill. The woods are pretty think here we learned last time,” he said. “We changed our emergency plan and we prepared for that this time.”
Sayre said the plane only used about 2,000 feet of runway out of Yeager’s 6,800 foot runway.
The three people on board were taken to the Executive Air terminal. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to interview the pilot about the incident.