Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N8230P: Incident occurred February 24, 2019 at Fresno Yosemite International Airport (KFAT), California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fresno, California

Gear collapsed.


Date: 24-FEB-19
Time: 20:40:00Z
Regis#: N8230P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 24 250
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Pilot Skylar Lee says flight training prepared him for the gear-up landing.

A local pilot calls Sunday's belly landing at the Fresno airport a tremendous experience that he prepared for on flight simulators.

The day after the accident Skylar Lee talked about a ten second slide that was picture perfect.

Lee says he tried everything to get the landing gear to lock in place. When it failed he told the tower at Fresno Yosemite International airport he was ready to land.

"The bird is gonna land. I'm gonna slow it way down and just land it. I mean I got 11,000 feet of runway in front of me. I got the fire trucks standing by and I finally set it down. Bingo!"

Lee has been flying small planes for 64 years. He and his wife were enjoying their flight Sunday until it was time to land.

"Time to go to get the gear down. No gear, no green light. So I said let's try again. Go around, no gear."

Lee circled Chandler Airport and asked fellow pilots to see if his landing gear was down. The answer was no so he headed to Fresno's main airport and started talking to the tower.

"Tell me again what runway you'd like me to land on? Oh he says pick what you want you're in control. Oh fine."

Lee was confident and says his wife was as cool as a cucumber. He was more worried about the plane.

"I've been through it a number of times simulated stuff so it wasn't that I was worried. I would hate the thought of ruining the under belly of my plane."

Lee did cut his hand opening the door of the plane after landing but his wife wasn't hurt. After his spectacular landing it's going to take major repairs before his 1963 Comanche Piper flies again.

Lee is meeting with an insurance adjuster this week to determine the extent of damage to the plane.

Video interview with Pilot Skylar Lee: https://www.facebook.com 

Original article can be found here ➤ https://kmph.com

A pilot managed to make an emergency "belly" landing at Fresno Yosemite International Airport Sunday, after his landing gear failed.

The plane landed and skidded down a runway, at 3:40 p.m.

Agapito Martinez, with Fresno Fire, says the pilot and a passenger had reported problems with the landing gear shortly after taking off from Chandler Airport.

"They circled Chandler for 45 minutes trying to fix the problem," Martinez said.

Once they noticed there was no fix, they flew to Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Firefighters were standing by as the plane approached the runway.

Vikkie Calderon, Public Information Officer for Fresno Yosemite International Airport, says the landing had no impact on operations.

"The airport is up and running," Calderon said.

Records show that the 1963 Piper PA-24 was purchased very recently, on Valentine's Day 2019.

The pilot and a woman could be seen getting out of the plane.

Martinez says they had no apparent injuries, but were taken to a hospital to get checked out.

Story and raw video ➤ https://kmph.com

FRESNO, California (KFSN) -- Fresno Fire crews responded to Fresno Yosemite International Airport after a single-engine plane carrying two people had an issue with its landing gear.

The plane departed from Chandler airport, which is not equipped with a contact tower.

After 45 minutes in the air, the pilot flew over FYI, alerting the airport tower for an emergency landing.

Once it landed without gear, the plane slid off the runway on its belly, according to Captain Pete Martinez with Fresno Fire.

No injuries were reported, but passengers were taken to the hospital for examination as a precaution.

At this time, one of the runways is blocked by the damaged aircraft, which is expected to be towed away soon.

Story and video ➤ https://abc30.com


  1. If I remember this correctly, we had a sad ending of a similar event in Germany. The pilot started his Comanche with external power due to low battery. For landing, he was unable to extend the landing gear. He used the manual gear extension device provided in the airplane. In this process, carbon monoxide entered the cockpit. The airplane crashed later, the pilot being incapacitated due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

    It appears that this pilot made a good decision to make a belly landing in place of using the manual gear extension method in this airplane.


  2. Records show that the 1963 Piper PA-24 was purchased very recently, on Valentine's Day 2019.

    Extra points give if no prop strike.

  3. Bummer. The plane had been on the market for a long time. Finally sold and now this. Total bummer!

  4. The insurance company may write it off since I'm sure the cost to fix the airframe and engine teardown will exceed the value of the plane. Another legacy aircraft gone forever. Glad no one was hurt.

  5. I fell in love with the Piper Comanche. There's just something about this aircraft that is very intriguing to me. For such a tried and true design, it looks very modern, especially when compared to the 172.

    The video interview was awesome mate! You did an amazing job with the landing, Mr. Lee! Superb!

  6. Prop is horizontal at landing, so no prop strike.

  7. I've been told the repair bill for a Comanche belly landing averages $60K. This would likely exceed the value of the plane. But, that average assumes a prop strike. He may have avoided that.
    Nice job on the landing. Best of luck Mr. Lee!

  8. The Comanche 250 is an amazing airplane! Full fuel (60 gal), four 170# people, 60 lbs baggage while still in CG and can climb off a runway at a density altitude of 5,000 feet at 700 ft/min and cruise at 157 kts at 10.5K. 250 hp counts for a lot but the secret to the plane is it's laminar airflow wing. If you squint your eyes the wing closely resembles a smaller version of the P-51 wing. The plane has no bad habits.