ELKHART – An aircraft landed safely at the Elkhart Municipal Airport Thursday evening after reporting malfunctioning landing gear.
The Elkhart Police Department, Elkhart Fire Department, Baugo Township Fire Department and Osolo Township Fire Department were called to the airport around 5 p.m. when the plane's pilot contacted the control tower to report the problem.
After making several passes at the runway, the plane landed safely around 6 p.m.
Andy Jones, the airport manager, said the Twin Challenger aircraft was carrying a pilot and four passengers. Jones did not know where the aircraft had started its journey.
When the pilot realized the landing gear had not deployed, he flew the craft past the control tower and air traffic controllers confirmed that the gear had not lowered.
The pilot cycled the gear again and passed by the tower two more times, at which point the gear appeared to have deployed and locked, Jones said.
The pilot made a fourth pass over the runway, where an aircraft engineer from the Indiana Flight Center observed the landing gear and cleared the craft for landing.
The plane landed safely on its fifth pass.
“Everything went like clockwork,” Jones said. “This is the kind of ending I like.”
After the landing, airport employees, following procedure, checked the runway for any debris that may have fallen off the plane and found none.
Jones said the pilot had expressed gratitude for the large number of emergency responders who were on hand during the incident.
“He said it was a good feeling to have them all there,” Jones said.