FARGO – Audio from Monday night’s emergency landing at Hector International Airport is unveiling what the pilot was going through in the final moments before landing, belly first, on the main runway.
Airport officials say the plane took off from Moorhead Municipal Airport just after 5 p.m. on New Year’s. Approximately half an hour later, the unnamed pilot contacted Hector International Airport with difficulties.
“We're going to have to declare an emergency,” the pilot said over the radio. “The landing gear is stuck up, and uh, wanted to know what your capabilities are…"
The plane performed a fly-by above the control tower several times, and they were able to confirm the landing gear was stuck inside the plane.
The pilot and air traffic control then decided an emergency landing was necessary and cleared the main runway in preparation for the single engine Trinidad plane to land.
Within three minutes, fire trucks and emergency crews responded and safely got the three passengers and pilot removed from the aircraft.
No one was injured.
Airport Authority Executive Director Shawn Dobberstein says the decision to land at Hector was a factor in the success of the emergency landing.
"We have 24 hour control tower and 24 hour rescue and firefighting, so aircraft would tend to come here if they were to have a situation somewhere in the region just because of the capabilities we have with emergency response,” Dobberstein said.
Officials estimate there is a few thousand dollars of damage to the plane.
It’s currently in a hanger at the Fargo Jet Center while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigates. They believe it the investigation will wrap up in a few weeks.
According to the FAA’s website, the aircraft’s registered owner is New Richmond Aviation LLC in St. Croix, WI.
The names of the pilot and passengers have not been released.