Newcastle Airport: live momentPlane makes emergency landing at Newcastle air...

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Published Time: 13.05.2024 - 00:01:48 Modified Time: 13.05.2024 - 00:01:48

"I'm led to believe the early indication is that if there was any damage on the runway it would be superficial at best, but that will be a matter for the air force and Newcastle Airport to work through." Newcastle Airport

"But if they get it off before then, well it will be reopened," he says.

"I'm led to believe the early indication is that if there was any damage on the runway it would be superficial at best, but that will be a matter for the air force and Newcastle Airport to work through."

Superintendent Wayne Humphrey says he believes the two passengers "jumped in the car and drove home" after the plane safely landed.

"They got out of the plane themselves so there wasn't alot of need for us too much, to be honest, so it was a great result. Really well done by the pilot," he says.

"I could hear [the pilot] on the air. He sounded really calm to me."

Superintendent Humphrey says the emergency landing was a joint operation between RAAF, NSW Police, and emergency services.

Superintendent Wayne Humphrey says the two passengers on board the aircraft were both from the Central Coast.

One is a 60-year-old male and the other a 65-year-old female.

"The aircraft landing gear would not come back down, and [the pilot] stayed here and burnt off fuel," Superintendent Humphrey says.

"After some hours in the air, 90 minutes burning off sufficient fuel, he made a text-book wheels-up landing which I was very happy to see on the runway behind us."

Superintendent Wayne Humphrey has started speaking the landing.

He says the aircraft departed Newcastle at 8:30am and experienced "issues with the landing gear".

"As a result of that, the pilot - a 53-year-old Queensland man - decided to stay around the airport until he resolved the issue on the aircraft."

The light plane is a Beechcraft Super King Air that is operated by Eastern Air Services.

It operates mainly in New South Wales and Queensland, with regularly scheduled flights using its fleet of turboprop aircraft.

Aviation expert Professor Ron Bartsch says the King Air is "quite a popular aircraft".

"A lot of operators use them," he says, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

He says landing gear failures "can happen" and pilots are trained to be able to accommodate all types of emergency situations.

"[The pilot] has obviously done it very well on this occassion."

Video footage taken at Newcastle Airport shows three stepping out of the light plane after it successfully landed with a gear failure.

They appear to hug each other seconds after they touch the ground.

NSW police will address the media at 1:25pm (AEST) at the public viewing area off Medowie Road, Williamtown RAAF Base.

It is understood the aircraft destined for Port Macquarie was 10 minutes into its flight when the landing gear problem was detected.

"It's probably likely that when the pilot was retracting the gear on departing from Newcastle, it gave an unsafe indication that the gear wasn't completely up. And that's why they elected to land at Williamtown," Professor Ron Bartsch says.

The aviation expert says it was "a wise decision" to land where emergency facilities were available on the ground.

NSW Police is expected address the media at Williamtown RAAF Base at 1:15pm (AEST) today to provide an update on the landing.

Please stay tuned, as we bring you the latest.

Aviation expert Professor Ron Bartsch says the situation "could have been a lot worse".

"If the aircraft pilot is not trained in terms of doing an emergency landing, they have to shut off the fuel, shut off the electrics to reduce the chance of a fire upon doing a belly-up landing," he says.

"But, obviously, the pilot has done this text-book style and [there was a] safe outcome."

The aircraft had circled above for more than two hours before it made the landing at 12:18pm.

Its engines appeared to power down as it approached the runway and touched down, eventually sliding to a stop.

There were loud cheers from crowds that had lined the airport's perimeter to watch.

Ambulances and fire trucks raced to the stricken aircraft before the three occupants were seen to walk from the plane.

It is understood the Beechcraft Super King Air operated by Eastern Air Services was 10 minutes into its flight to Port Macquarie when the problem was detected.

More than a dozen fire, police, SES and ambulance crews were on scene, with an operations room set up at the adjoining Williamtown RAAF base.

Superintendent Wayne Humphrey said the pilot was a 53-year old man from Queensland and the passengers were a married couple in their 60s.

"I believe they jumped in the car and went home," he said.

"We applauded … we were very happy.

"It was a mechanical failure."

Newcastle Airport has posted the event on social media, saying: "We're incredibly relieved the aircraft landed safely this afternoon."

The post went on to say, "we're investigating options to recover the aircraft and re-open the airfield as soon as possible".

Passengers have been told to speak directly with their airline any further questions.

Eastern Air Pty Ltd, operating as Eastern Air Services, is headquartered in Port Macquarie.

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