A private pilot was forced to make an emergency landing at ABIA on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities say there were problems with the landing gear on the twin engine plane.
The pilot is doing fine. As for the aircraft, it's been removed and the east runway is now back open.
A challenging landing ended safely.
"It doesn't look like anything got ripped off, so it's a great landing," says Jacob Wilder, private pilot who witnessed landing.
Jacob Wilder is a private pilot who witnessed the emergency landing and wanted to make sure it wasn't someone he knew. It happened around 4:00 Wednesday afternoon at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. Officials say a Beechcraft Baron general aviation plane landed safely on the east runway.
"The landing gear obviously failed, or was not put down, so it did land on its belly. It would be a rough landing. We've had a couple of belly landings out here with general aviation aircraft," says Jason Zielinski, ABIA public information officer.
The Austin Police Department, Austin Fire Department and EMS all responded to the scene. The only one on the plane was the pilot, who walked away with no injuries. They are trained extensively for situations like this.
"We get it down to the slowest speed possible. We turn the engine off so the propeller doesn't hit and we don't have any problems with that. We just get it slow enough and glide it in on its belly, that's all you can do," says Wilder.
Besides commercial flights, ABIA has two general aviation operators: Atlantic and Signature. There are several planes coming and going throughout the day.
"I'm not sure if the NTSB will be involved. They're usually involved in all the plane accidents, transportation accidents," says Zielinski.
The east runway was temporarily shut down so authorities could investigate and remove the plane.
In the meantime, all operations were moved to the west runway. There was no impact to any commercial flights.
We're told having one operational runway is sufficient for an airport our size, so there was no further impact on normal operations.