Saturday, December 24, 2022

Piper PA-28R-201T Turbo Arrow III, N38444: Incident occurred December 23, 2022 at Gillespie Field Airport (KSEE), El Cajon, San Diego County, California

EL CAJON, California — A  Piper PA-28R-201T Turbo Arrow III landed safely at Gillespie Field after declaring a landing gear emergency Friday night.

According to Heartland Fire Department, several first responders were called to Gillespie Field around 5:30 p.m. following reports of an aircraft in distress.

Fire trucks, ambulances, and other official airport operation vehicles waited patiently near Gillespie Field runways while a four-passenger aircraft circled above in routine fashion of most instances when an aircraft declares an emergency.

Heartland Fire told CBS 8 the airplane declared an emergency once the pilot realized his front landing gear would not deploy.

The pilot reported about 90 minutes of fuel aboard the aircraft when the emergency was transmitted over air traffic control frequencies.

Flight tracking software showed the aircraft performing continuous loops over Gillespie Field and swishing from left to right in an attempt to lower the landing gear manually.

The pilot frequently flew the plane in direct view of controllers in the airport's tower to check if the landing gear had gone down into the landing position.

Video shared with CBS 8 by photojournalist Matthew Weiss showed the aircraft had landed safely by 6:30 p.m. on one of two Gillespie Field runways.

The pilot enthusiastically thanked crews and air traffic controllers on the airwaves for their assistance during the emergency declaration.

No injuries were reported. 

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