News Plane incidents — 24 October 2017

Chad Wilson’s wife and mother stood at the fence line of the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport on Monday watching, waiting and praying that he would be able to land his plane without a functioning landing gear.

Wilson, 36, of Whitehouse, reported landing gear issues with his Piper Cheyenne aircraft to the air traffic control tower about 1 p.m.

The Tyler Fire Department and airport officials prepared the airfield for the emergency landing, and at about 2:15 p.m. Wilson successfully landed the plane on its belly without the landing gear.

The fire department sprayed a foam mixture on the runway to prevent a fire. Wilson, the only person on the plane, exited the plane without injuries shortly after he landed.

Heather Wilson watched her husband’s plane safely land, and shortly after his feet hit the ground, she got the phone call she had been hoping for.

“He’s all right,” Heather Wilson said. “That was him. He’s fine.”

Tears ran down Mrs. Wilson’s face as she hugged her mother-in-law and caught her breath after the fear of a fatal crash landing was averted.

Chad Wilson makes a pass at an emergency landing at the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport in Tyler, Texas, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Wilson had to burn fuel and make an emergency landing after his landing gear would not come down.

Tyler fire department trucks spray down Chad Wilson’s airplane after he made an emergency landing at the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport in Tyler, Texas, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Wilson had to burn fuel and make an emergency landing after his landing gear would not come down.

Chad Wilson makes an emergency landing as Tyler fire department vehicles stand by at the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport in Tyler, Texas, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Wilson had to burn fuel and make an emergency landing after his landing gear would not come down.

Firefighters on the scene of Chad Wilson’s emergency landing at the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport in Tyler, Texas, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Wilson had to burn fuel and make an emergency landing after his landing gear would not come down.

Fire department crews and the Federal Aviation Administration assisted Wilson after his landing. The FAA was at the scene of the crash conducting further investigations into the incident that caused the plane to emergency land.

Wilson had about two hours of fuel on the plane that he needed to burn off, according to Dickson. Wilson made several passes around the airfield to burn off the fuel and test the winds while he made the plans for his landing.

“A mechanic came up to the control tower and talked to Chad about some things he could do to get the gear functioning,” Airport Manager Davis Dickson said. “He tried to do those. He flew down towards Lake Palestine and tried some negative-g and positive-g maneuvers to try to rectify it, but nothing worked.”

On one pass over the airfield, Wilson’s plane was seen with the front landing gear and the rear right landing gear down. The left rear landing gear was not down.

Mrs. Wison said her husband is an experienced pilot and has been flying the plane for seven years.

Dickson said Wilson had departed from Tyler and was not clear on why he had returned to the airfield after finding out his landing gear was not operational.

“He was really calm and methodical during the whole situation,” Dickson said. “We’re really prepared for this and we exercise it regularly.”

Dickson said Wilson was able to land where he would cause minimal issues to the airport and cause minimal damage to the runway.

“The FAA should be done with their investigation and we should be able to get crews out to recover the plane from the runway today,” Dickson said. “Runway 1-7 should be open tonight.”

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