FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Harrisburg FSDO-13
AIRCRAFT LANDED GEAR UP, LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA.
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 58
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
An airplane carrying four people struck a deer during takeoff from a suburban Philadelphia airport before making an emergency landing at Lancaster Airport Tuesday morning.
No one was injured in the second incident at Lancaster Airport in less than six weeks.
The pilot Tuesday landed after the twin engine aircraft's landing gear either became stuck and wouldn't go down or was knocked off.
The pilot reported striking a deer with the plane's left main gear as it took off from Wings Field Airport in Blue Bell, Montgomery County, earlier in the day, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and David Eberly, the airport's director. That's about 55 miles east of the Lancaster Airport.
Eberly said the plane, a Beechcraft BE58 based out of Lancaster Airport, had flown to Wings Field to pick up and take passengers to Pittsburgh.
But when the plane hit the deer, "they knew they had a serious problem," he said.
The pilot knew the Lancaster Airport had a rescue truck and and emergency crews, he decided to return to Lancaster, Eberly said. Wings Field doesn't have that kind of equipment on hand, he said.
That also gave the airport's tower crew and the plane's mechanics time to prepare, even looking at the plane's manuals to see what might be done, Eberly said.
The decision was made to land the plane on its belly. Eberly said he understood the landing gear on the left side was knocked off.
"The plane landed right on the numbers," Eberly said. It landed about 8:35 a.m.
"It was a perfect landing for him," an official was heard saying over county radio at the time.
The plane had some minor damage to its underside and propellers, according to Eberly. The runway was not damaged.
Firefighters and ambulances had responded around 7:45 a.m. in advance of the landing.
The plane is owned by Aero-Tech Services Inc., according to the Federal Aviation Administration registry. It was built in 1998.
Aero-Tech has locations at Lancaster Airport and Smoketown Airport. Its services include aerobatics, aircraft management and sales and flight training. It also offers charter flights.
A message left seeking comment from Aero-Tech wasn't immediately returned.
The airport was reopened quickly because several airplanes delayed by the incident were waiting to land.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it will investigate, and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.
On Sept. 16, a Cessna P210 carrying a flight instructor and student "was substantially damaged following collapse of the main landing gear during landing," according to a preliminary investigation report by the NTSB. No one was injured.
The Lancaster Airport has about 100,000 take-offs and landings yearly, Eberly said.