Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cargo Plane's Landing Gear Collapses. Elmira/Corning Regional Airport (KELM), New York,

Incident briefly closed large runway; no injuries reported

The landing gear on a twin-engine cargo plane collapsed on landing Thursday morning at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport, closing the main runway for about 2 1/2 hours.

Only the pilot was on board, and he was not injured, said Ann Crook, director of aviation for the airport located in Big Flats.

The incident occurred at about 7:30 a.m., and the runway was reopened at about 9:45 a.m., she said. The disabled plane was lifted up, had its landing gear extended and was towed off the runway to a hangar on airport property.

The aircraft was a UPS cargo plane operated by Ameriflight Air Cargo Service, she said. It is a routine flight that comes in every morning.

Crook said she was not aware of any flights that had to be diverted because of the incident.

A Delta Air Lines flight that was on the ground was delayed before takeoff because of a separate mechanical issue with that jet, she said. Once they were ready to go, they waited about 10 minutes until the main runway reopened rather than use the shorter runway, she said.

Emergency workers responded to a Level 3 alert, the highest possible, meaning there was an actual aircraft incident, Crook said. "That's just the way the tower notifies 911 so they can make sure and get all of the emergency responders on their way," she said.

Typically, the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigate incidents like this, Crook said.

Big Flats, N.Y. - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating why a small cargo plane collapsed onto the runway in Chemung County.

After getting the o.k. from the FAA, Elmira Corning Regional Airport crews tugged a damaged cargo plane down runway 6 to a secure hanger.

Now FAA workers will inspect the damage.

The Ameriflight plane flew in from Buffalo around 7:30 Thursday morning.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said once the plane was on the runway, it's landing gear malfunctioned.

The plane skid across the tarmac and landed on it's belly.

Airport fire crews immediately sprung into action to clear any debris and inspect the runway.

"We inspect the runway to make sure that there's no ruts on anything that would cause problems on the surface of the runway, bits of aircraft metal, anything like that just to make sure that it's in a regular standard safety condition" said Ann Crook, Director of Aviation, Elmira Corning Regional Airport.

Crook said there was only one person on the plane, the pilot.

He was not injured.

The cargo plane is owned by Ameriflight in California.

Ameriflight spokesman Andrew Lotter said the company will not disclose the pilots name.

But he said the plane was carrying cargo for UPS.

"It had cargo and I can tell you if anyone's worried about their packages, a UPS truck got right out and unloaded the cargo" said Crook.

The Elmira Corning Regional Airport is back open for take offs and landings.

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