Posted: Sep 16, 2013 4:04 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News
Updated: Sep 16, 2013 8:24 PM
For the first time in more than a decade, the San Luis Obispo Regional Airport was shut down Sunday night. It happened after a plane careened off the runway upon landing, delaying at least three flights.
The plane landed within the runway safety zone. Until crews were able to move the plane out of that area, no planes were allowed to land or take off.
"It came down on the runway and made an immediate stop and abrupt turn," said Craig Gill, a witness to the incident.
He was one of several people who witnessed the Cessna 310's emergency landing just before 8:00 pm.
"It looks like it took the brunt of the damage right there though," said Jim Willis of Pigs Can Fly Aviation as he surveyed the damage.
According to airport officials, shortly after the plane touched down, the right landing gear collapsed.
"When the gear collapsed, if you look underneath here, this is a landing light that comes down, you can tell it all hit here on the concrete," said Willis pointing to the right wing of the plane.
Within minutes, emergency crews responded to the scene, shutting down the airport for about 90 minutes.
"Generally by the time he actually touches down, if he's doing a normal landing, he's probably actually touching down somewhere about 75 mph," said Willis.
The plane also sustained damage to the right rudder. In order to tow the plane to the hanger, maintenance crews had to figure out a way to keep the gear down.
"That strap is keeping the bar pulled over center so it's locked out," said Willis.
As crews piece together the broken gear, they credit the pilot for preventing something much worse from happening.
"One of the sayings in aviation is, a good landing is one that you walk away from, and a really great landing is when you can reuse the airplane. This one right here was great," said Willis.
The airport is back up and running smoothly. According to maintenance crews, the plane sustained around $35,000 in damage.
The National Transportation Safety Board is calling this an incident, not an accident, meaning a formal investigation by the NTSB will most likely not occur.
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