Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cessna 310N, N4120Q: Incident occurred December 05, 2018 at Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK), Wheeling, Cook County, Illinois

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; DuPage, Illinois

Nose gear collapsed. 


Date: 05-DEC-18

Time: 19:58:00Z
Regis#: N4120Q
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 310N
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

WHEELING, Ill. (WLS) -- A small plane experiencing an equipment malfunction made an emergency landing Wednesday afternoon at Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling.

The Cessna 310N circled the airport for half an hour to burn off fuel, the plane landed just before 2 p.m. and came to a rest tilted forward on its nose.

Emergency crews standing by on the ground rushed to assist the pilot and passenger, who emerged from the plane and hugged each other.

"We couldn't believe we landed an airplane and there wasn't a scratch on our body," said pilot Vartan Seferian.

Earlier in the day, Seferian took off from the Wheeling airport with a friend and headed to Janesville, Wisconsin. He had intended to drop off the friend and have lunch there.

But as soon as they took off, there were problems.

Seferian heard a pop.

"I could see through the window that the gear wasn't coming up," he said.
Cruising at 2,000 feet, Seferian realized that he had to land on two wheels, not three. But with a full tank of fuel, he worried that a rough landing could be explosive.

Seferian contacted the control tower to connect him with someone who has landed a plane on two wheels. Other veteran pilots and mechanics talked to him through the process.

"I was coming in slower and Howard telling me, 'You're doing a great job, speed is perfect,'" Seferian said.

As he did land, he pulled the nose back to try and stay on two wheels, but it did scrape the runway.

As soon as they landed, they jumped out of the plane.

"We were like, 'Wow, did we just land?'" Seferian said.

Smelling smoke, he thought to himself, "Let's get out of here before this thing blows up!"

Seferian said he was still in shock.

"All the money in the world I don't think if you gave it to me I would be able to do this again," he said.

No one was injured, but Seferian said the plane is totaled.

Story and video: https://abc7chicago.com

Pilot Vartan Seferian had just taken off in his Cessna 310N from Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling on Wednesday when he knew there was a problem.

“I hear a popping noise and realize something is wrong,” said Seferian, of Long Grove, who was bound for Janesville, Wis., with his friend, Howard Norber, of Chicago.

In a mirror, Seferian could see the front landing gear was wobbly on the Cessna 310N.

But after circling Chicago Executive for about two hours — and with what he called “a one billion percent team effort” — Seferian was able to land the plane. The aircraft was damaged, but Seferian and Norber were not injured.

It wasn’t the first time Seferian went through such an experience, he said. Six years ago, he was unhurt when a plane he was piloting developed mechanical problems and crashed in Lansing, Mich., he said.

After problems arose Wednesday, Seferian notified the control tower and tried to resolve the problem. He and Norber, also a pilot, even read the plane’s manual. He circled the airport to burn off fuel to lessen the chance of a fire in case there was a crash landing.

“I was feeling physically good,” Seferian said. “But mentally, I was thinking about my family, my wife my kids and the reality that I have to fly and land this airplane.”

He said those on the ground were helping and added that advice was sought from other pilots on the best way to approach a landing.

“Everybody helped out,” Seferian said. “It was a one billion percent team effort.”

Seferian’s wife, Barb, said it would take her “a little while to process this.”

“But my main concern was with his health,” she said. “The fact that he is OK is a big relief.”

According to Chief Keith MacIsaac, of the Wheeling Fire Department, Seferian landed the plane on its two rear wheels about 1:45 p.m. while the front wheel under the nose remained disabled. After landing, Seferian shut off the engine, gradually lowered the nose of the plane and skidded to a stop, MacIsaac said. Along with the damage to the plane, there was a small fuel spill.

Jamie Abbott, executive director of Chicago Executive Airport, said National Transportation Safety Board employees will be at the airport Thursday to determine what malfunctioned with the plane.

Responders from the Wheeling and Prospect Heights fire departments were on hand when the plane landed. Paramedics examined the pilot and passenger.

Seferian said some passengers were injured in the crash he was involved in six years ago, but he did not provide specifics.The planes in both incidents were “checked and certified” prior to the flights.

Barb Seferian said she would not hesitate to fly with her husband.

“I know he is a really good pilot and I would fly with him again,” she said. “This is not about his skills. Obviously, it was an act of God that this has happened twice and he walked away with no scratches.”

Story and video: https://www.chicagotribune.com

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