Saturday, November 24, 2012

University Park Airport (KUNV), State College, Pennsylvania: Plane lands safely after problems with landing gear - Incident occurred November 14, 2012

Passengers exit the airplane and walk across the runway to the terminal.   A United Express flight had landing gear problems and landed at University Park Airport shortly after take-off on Wednesday.
 Nabil K. 

— No one was hurt when a small commercial plane had to make an emergency landing Wednesday afternoon at University Park Airport.

Airport officials said United Airways Express Flight 5017 had just taken off from the airport and was heading to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., when it encountered a problem with its landing gear.

Ed Foster, associate director of the airport, said the pilots noticed shortly after takeoff that the plane’s landing gear wouldn’t retract. The pilots checked the plane’s equipment and found it would be safe to land. They requested to turn around and put down at the airport.

“It’s an emergency in our eyes, so we rolled out all of the equipment,” Foster said. “It’s all protocol because of the size of the plane and the number of people on board.”

The plane was carrying 36 passengers, he said.

Emergency crews were called to the scene shortly after 2 p.m. as the plane was circling to land.

After the plane touched down, crews ran into an issue with the front landing gear, causing passengers to be disembarked near the runway and the plane to be towed. The issue was unrelated to the problem the pilots experienced in flight, Foster said.

“We’ll move the plane to a secure location and our maintenance workers will look at it and determine if something is wrong,” he said.

He said the airline would then determine what to do about the flight. “We don’t have a second airplane here for them,” Foster said. “That plane comes and goes from Dulles.”

United Airways officials at the airport declined comment.

It’s the second time a small plane has made an emergency landing at the airport in two months. A US Airways Express flight traveling from Buffalo, N.Y., to Philadelphia was forced to land when an indicator light on the cockpit control panel came on and smoke was seen outside the plane.

There were six people on board that flight — five crew members and one passenger. All made it off the plane safely.

“The thing is they are usually uneventful, which is good,” Foster said. “For this one, the plan went as planned, which is good.”

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