FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15
Aircraft Make: ROCKWELL
Aircraft Model: 112
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
AIRCRAFT LANDED WITH PARTIAL GEAR RETRACTED, ORLANDO, FLORIDA.
Dramatic video captured from an Orange County Sheriff's Office helicopter shows officials attempting to help a pilot after his landing gear stopped working.
The pilot, 74-year-old Robert Pender, was attempting to land his single-engine aircraft at the Orlando Executive Airport Saturday afternoon when the malfunction happened.
Pender texted his family that he loved them and told them he was going to have to make an emergency landing, the Sheriff's Office said.
Master deputies Bill Snarr and Jason Sams inside a Sheriff's Office helicopter along with air traffic controllers worked with the pilot for about an hour to try and help him unstick the landing gear. He moved back and forth trying to unhinge the gear but nothing worked.
"Luckily he was experienced and kept a cool head," said aviation unit Lt. Nate Van Ness. "...pilots are trained on what to do in an emergency situation like that but there's a big difference between training and it happening to you in real life."
Van Ness said it was Pender's idea to do an emergency landing with two of the three wheels deployed. Emergency crews were ready in case the landing didn't go well, Van Ness said.
Pender landed on the runway then spun into a grassy area. He was uninjured and the aircraft had minor damage. After the landing, he hopped out of the aircraft and was met by fire and medical crews.
"He was very grateful for the help," Van Ness said. "I'm sure he's had enough excitement for a while after that."
Pender's daughter wrote a letter to the Sheriff's Office thanking them to "make sure that their concern and compassion did not go unnoticed."
"My father had nothing but praise for the officers that helped him. Please know how much your kindness meant to our family," she wrote.
Story and video: http://www.orlandosentinel.com