Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Incident occurred March 09, 2016 at Hamilton Airport, New Zealand

A light aircraft has crash-landed and tipped at Hamilton Airport after somehow losing one of its wheels mid-flight.

Police said the two occupants are uninjured.

Details remain sketchy, but airport chief executive Mark Morgan confirmed the facility went into full emergency mode and emergency services were scrambled shortly before midday.

A reporter at the scene watched the pilot of the small plane attempt to land at least once before abandoning the attempt at the last minute and circling the area.

When it finally came into land, it appeared to tip and one wing went upwards.

Emergency services immediately covered the plane in white foam.

The incident is known as a wing strike when one of the aircraft wings hits the ground when the plane is off balance.

It was understood the plane's left wheel was missing, she said.

Police blocked off roads around the airport for just over an hour to ensure public safety, she said. 

The airport said it was back to business as usual, including roads open, about 1pm. 

Following the plane's safe landing, Morgan said the Civil Aviation Authority was notified and would be taking over the investigation.

How the wheel fell off remains a mystery, but he hopes to know more following a debrief on Friday morning.

"It was a very measured response. We had the plane pass over the aerodrome a few times, but that was mainly so our staff and emergency services staff could view it from below, and also to check the wind conditions and determine which of our runways would be the best for it to land on.

"We also wanted to wait until the emergency services had everything in place."

What had been a potential disaster had ended in the best possible way, he said.

"This was a very well-planned-for occurrence."

Hamilton aviation companies Super Air and CTC Aviation confirmed the plane was not one of their aircraft, and it was also not associated with the Waikato Aero Club. 

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