|No injuries as small plane touches down in Wilmington without landing gear
By David Reynolds
Published: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 8:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 9:21 p.m.
A small jet with no fuel made an emergency landing at Wilmington International Airport ILM early Sunday, and the seven people onboard escaped without injuries, officials said.
The plane landed without its landing gear and slid along the runway before coming to rest in the grass at the end of the air strip, said Julie Wilsey, the airport’s deputy director.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “The pilots did a fantastic job of landing the aircraft under the conditions. It was very very foggy.”
The Cessna Citation landed at 2:20 a.m. after four failed attempts to land in thick fog, Wilsey said. The plane, which is a twin-engine jet, ran out of fuel during flight because of strong-winds and the added flight time taken during the repeated passes over the airport, she said.
In addition to two pilots, the plane carried a family of four and their nanny. The passengers were headed home to New York from a Christmas vacation in the Caribbean. The family hired the plane to fly from the Dominican Republic to Wilmington where they intended to pass through U.S. Customs before continuing on to an airport in Teterboro, NJ.
Since Wilmington International Airport’s air traffic control isn’t staffed in the early morning hours, the pilots communicated with officials in Washington, D.C. during the landing. Wilsey said she did not know the family’s full name. She wasn’t certain why the landing gear wasn’t working.
Emergency crews with the airport and the Wrightsboro Volunteer Fire Department were on hand for the landing.
Airport officials notified the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board of the incident, Wilsey said. Since no one was injured, federal investigators weren’t dispatched and the airport moved the plane from the landing site. The runway reopened before noon. In the interim, the airport stayed open by using it’s other runway.
Several hours after the landing, the parents and their two children boarded a U.S. Airways flight to LaGuardia Airport in New York City, Wilsey said.
“It’s really remarkable,” she said. “Everybody did everything right last night.”
Regis#: 815MA Make/Model: C550 Description: 550, S550, 552 Citation 2/S2/Bravo (T-47
Date: 01/04/2009 Time: 0715
Event Type: Incident Highest Injury: None Mid Air: N Missing: N
City: WILMINGTON State: NC Country: US
AIRCRAFT LANDED GEAR UP AND SLID OFF THE RUNWAY INTO THE GRASS, WILMINGTON,
INJURY DATA Total Fatal: 0
# Crew: 0 Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
# Pass: 7 Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
# Grnd: Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
Activity: Unknown Phase: Landing Operation: OTHER
FAA FSDO: GREENSBORO, NC (SO05) Entry date: 01/05/2009