ST. GEORGE – Airport and other emergency crews responded to assist the pilot of an airborne plane who was having difficulty getting the landing gear on his Beechcraft Baron down so that he could land safely at St. George Municipal Airport Monday morning.
This is the fifth emergency landing Bill Williams, of Sky Ranch in Hurricane, has had to make in his 50 years of flying.
Williams said he took off this morning and was on his way to Page, Arizona, with his wife, son and a neighbor, but when the group got ready to land in Page, the landing gear would not come down.
“There’s emergency procedures that you follow,” Williams said, “and I practice them all the time, but I got the book out and made sure they read it to me slow so we could try all the procedures.”
Williams said he made a couple low passes at the Page airport and had people out looking and watching, but the landing gear never looked like it was coming down.
At that point, with plenty of fuel, Williams said he decided to come back to St. George because of the larger airport and better facilities.
“So we came here and pulled around about 30-45 minutes,” Williams said, “and went and let the commercial airplanes out so we don’t slow all that down – and we weren’t in an emergency problem other than the minute we touched down, so it was no big hurry other than at the same time you’re burning off gas.”
With his son in the back of the plane, Williams said, the group tried all the procedures in the book numerous times all the way from Page back to St. George and tried utilizing a mechanical way you can crank the landing gear down, but nothing worked.
After trying many different things, Williams said, airport crew members decided to have him land from the north instead of the south.
“So I went up there and they had me do a couple low approaches to check again,” he said. “After one of the low approaches I decided to go through one of the procedures again and that time the landing gear came down.”
Williams said they will find out what went wrong with the landing gear when they take it apart.
“Usually, he said, “you’ll have something burn out or something and then it won’t work, and so that’s why you crank it down, but we couldn’t crank it down so that means that something must be jammed in there which as situations like this occur, it’s usually not a standard thing that happens or they’d have emergency procedures to take care of it, to solve the issue.”
The group all landed safely, to which Williams said: “Any landing is a good landing if you walk away from it.”
Williams said he was grateful for the crews at the St. George Airport who assisted him.
“The guys here were very professional,” Williams said, “and we very much appreciate the Fire Department and the airport people – they took hold right away and started taking things in and dong the proper procedures so I was very pleased with them, very glad we had ‘em.”
Ed. correction: “Chemical” has been changed to “mechanical.”
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