Photo: Pilot and passenger walked away unharmed after this landing at Toowoomba Airport earlier today.
UPDATE: Thoughts of “stop, stop, stop, stop, stop” followed by “get out of the plane as fast as you can” were going through Mark Crampton’s head as his new Beechcraft Baron G58 skidded along its nose at Toowoomba Airport.
It was the only moment he didn’t have total control over what was happening during an emergency crash landing shortly after 11am yesterday.
The Crampton Automotive Managing Director and his co-pilot Mark Rootsey were on their way to Toowoomba from Hervey Bay when their control panel indicated there was something wrong with their landing gear.
Electronic and manual checks revealed their front wheels were not extending into place.
The problem was confirmed by technicians during a low-level flyover of Toowoomba Airport before Mr Crampton diverted to the south of Toowoomba while emergency services prepared for a crash landing.
“We went through the emergency procedures in the logbook,” Mr Crampton said.
After repeatedly going through what they were going to do, they brought the plane in.
“We had to come in as slow as we could and we had to keep the nose up as long as we could.
“Even though you are still nervous, there was no panic.”
He and Mr Rootsey were ready to jump out of the plane as soon as it ground to a halt.
“When it happens your greatest fear is fire.”
Mr Crampton, who has been a pilot for about 18 months, said the incident had not scared him off taking to the skies.
“It gave me some satisfaction that all the training I had done and all of the work we had done leading up to that point had paid off.”
Aerotec Queensland owner Lynette Zuccoli watched Mr Crampton bring the plane in.
“He did a great job,” Mrs Zuccoli said.
“We were just happy to see him down and safe.”
EARLIER: A plane has come to rest on its nose after landing gear failed at Toowoomba Airport.
Emergency services were on stand-by this morning as the pilot brought it in to land.
A Queensland Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said crews were called at 10.24am to reports of an aircraft having trouble on its approach.
“The nose gear would not lock into place,” the spokeswoman said.
There are reports that the plane was forced to circle to burn fuel while firefighters laid foam on the tarmac.
The spokeswoman said there were two people on board the plane.
A twin-propeller plane made a successful emergency landing at Toowoomba airport in southern Queensland on Wednesday after its nose wheel failed to deploy.
Pilot Mark Crampton and his male co-pilot managed to touch down safely and without injury about 11:00am (AEST), after some anxious moments.
The Beechcraft Baron 58 was returning to the Darling Downs city after dropping passengers at Hervey Bay on Queensland’s Fraser coast.
Shortly after taking off from Hervey Bay, Mr Crampton says he heard a large bang and a clunk while retracting the nose gear.
He says he turned to his co-pilot and said: “That doesn’t sound all that good.”
Mr Crampton says as they went to land his cockpit equipment indicated a fault with the landing gear.
“We only had two green lights instead of three, which means the nose wheel isn’t coming down,” he said.
After three failed attempts they tried to deploy the wheel manually but it still did not lock into place.
He says they flew low over the airport and ground observers confirmed the nose wheel had not been properly released.
Mr Crampton says he tried to land as gently as possible.
“Even though I was extremely nervous it’s amazing how the training kicks in,” he said.
“When you land you’re still doing about 95 to 100 knots – so up near 200 kilometres an hour – so you’re trying to slow the plane down with keeping the nose off as long as you can.
“But when that nose drops in it’s a pretty scary sound, and we were out of that plane as fast as we could because I wasn’t interested in a barbeque, I can tell you.”
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