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Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pilot forgets to drop landing gear

Lawrence man lands plane safely

Dick Martin, 72, of Lawrence, surveys the damage to his Beechcraft airplane Wednesday after landing at Lawrence Municipal Airport without his landing gear. Martin, who before the incident hadn't damaged a plane since he began flying in 1962, forgot to drop the landing gear.

Dick Martin, 72, of Lawrence, surveys the damage to his Beechcraft airplane Wednesday after landing at Lawrence Municipal Airport without his landing gear. Martin, who before the incident hadn't damaged a plane since he began flying in 1962, forgot to drop the landing gear.

May 29, 2008

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Plane crashes at Lawrence airport

When veteran pilot Dick Martin came in for a landing today at Lawrence Municipal Airport, he forgot one very important thing: to put down the landing gear. Enlarge video

When veteran pilot Dick Martin guided his plane in for a landing Wednesday at Lawrence Municipal Airport he forgot one very important thing.

He didn't drop his landing gear.

Martin, 72, was not hurt. He said he was more embarrassed than anything. After all, it was the first time he'd damaged a plane since he started flying in 1962.

When the plane started dragging on the runway Martin said he let out an expletive and then just rode it out.

"I'm a pretty calm guy," he said. "I just let her skid along the ground. There wasn't a whole lot I could do about it after that."

Martin said he was returning to Lawrence from Miami County. He was flying on instruments because of the overcast skies. His approach to the airport was a little too fast and too high. He was listening to a Kansas City air traffic controller and making adjustments when he forgot to lower the landing gear.

"That's pretty stupid," he said.

The plane came to a stop on its flaps and its curled propellers. Martin has a second plane but he said he intends to get the damaged one fixed.

"Somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 will fix it right up," he said.

Similar landing incidents are rare at the airport, airport manager Lloyd Hetrick, of Hetrick Air Services, said. He didn't see Martin's rough landing. The Federal Aviation Administration requires such accidents to be reported, Hetrick said.

The airport does not have air traffic controllers on site.

Comments

classclown 6 years, 7 months ago

Maybe there's a roundabout on the runway and he got all flustered wondering how he was going to navigate it.

fu7il3 6 years, 7 months ago

Somewhere between 30 to 50 grand will fix it right up...Must be nice to have 30 to 50 grand sitting around. Of course, he's 72. What the hell is he going to save it for?

Keith 6 years, 7 months ago

D*mn kids! I bet he was sending a text message at the time.

Ken Miller 6 years, 7 months ago

As Spicoli would say, "old people should not fly."

Sigmund 6 years, 7 months ago

Boston_Corbett (Anonymous) says: "It sure didn't help when the US manufacturers totally pulled out of light-plane manufacturing because of mushrooming tort liability concerns. And once the feds provided some relief, and the manufacturers came back into the market, that one-time $20,000 Cessna 150 was suddenly a $125,000 Cessna 152. I would say that the plaintiffs bar has more than a little blame on their hands for the decline of General Aviation in the US."The Plaintiff's Bar is almost entirely responsible for the decline in general aviation. At one time the cost of a new Cessna or Beech was at least 50% comprised solely in insurance premiums. I got my single engine land license when I was 18 and I paid for it by washing planes, I still have my log book. The courage of my parents (neither were pilots) was never demonstrated more than when they insisted their long-haired-hippie son give them my first rides in a rented Cessna 152. It was a kind of blind trust that only parents can have. My friends knew better, they were scared to death!

classclown 6 years, 7 months ago

The_Original_Bob (Anonymous) says:q_ball wins. Very well done, kind sir====================================Yeah, I figured that no one would be able to top that, but figured I would shoot for Honorable Mention.

Sigmund 6 years, 7 months ago

Harderfaster (Anonymous) says: "Isn't this guy about the same age as McCain?"Yes, and remarkably about your IQ as well! What are the odds?

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 7 months ago

I was a passenger in a Mooney once that had the same thing happen. Embarrassment of the pilot was the chief victim of the day. A nice headwind helped stop the plane in about 50 feet. A couple of small prop dings on the runway were the principal damage. In those days, $30,000 would have bought an entirely new Mooney. His damage at the time was much less than that.V-tailed Bonanzas barrel rolled the best.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 7 months ago

My pop owned a Beech Bonanza and was a Doctor of Philosophy.Sold it when he left the country.Guess he dodged a bullet,huh.

Kathy Getto 6 years, 7 months ago

I think Dad used that line to get Mom's goat. But, who knows? He learned to fly in the 30's, (grew up two blocks from the Longren plant in its first location.)You're right, it is sad that more of my generation never learned how to fly.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 7 months ago

And MD, you are right.... docs and lawyers frequently could afford the planes, and their minds were somewhere else while flying, and that gets you into trouble.

Kathy Getto 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree Reality check, and also with Marion - stuff happens - I would much rather be flying with Dick than riding as a passenger in most cars. My dad flew all of his adult life, until right before his death. Those are the BEST memories I have. Each time he flew he would come home and say to Mom, " Honey, I cheated death one more time."

Fatty_McButterpants 6 years, 7 months ago

Two things:1. I think it's awesome that he's got the cash to "fix it right up."2. I don't think I want to fly with him.

Trekkie 6 years, 7 months ago

for those of you marveling at his response on what would cost to fix it......they have this thing called insurance, and I'm sure he's going to use it. this is like backing into a light pole in a car damage to value wise.I'm surprised the warning horn didn't go off. In the planes I've flown with LG if you throttle back like you do when you're coming in a huge buzzer goes off to remind you to check yer gear.Like he said, pretty damn embarrassing mistake.

redwaggoner 6 years, 7 months ago

Two years ago, a pilot, for reasons unknown, with three others on board took a nose dive into a storage facility a block off the hwy 76 strip in Branson, Mo. The plane and everyone aboard perished. Fortunatewly he hit the storage facililty and not one of the three hotels nearby. Fortunate also that it was in early February and the area was not crammed with tourists in a very facinating city!

maxcrabb 6 years, 7 months ago

There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots!

Sigmund 6 years, 7 months ago

There is a old saying, "There are two kinds of pilots, those that have landed gear up and those that haven't, yet." I'd fly with him anytime.

road_Runner 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, at least I can honestly say that I haven't done anything quite like that. Then again, I don't have my pilot's license so that's probably why...

RiverCityConservative 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm glad that Mr. Martin came through O.K. I got my pilot's license when I was in high school and continued to fly occasionally during my first year at K.U., but because I wasn't getting out to fly often enough, what with classes and things, I noticed my skills diminishing and, after several bumpy landings, I decided to stop flying for a while until I had more time to devote to it. It's now been about 30 years. I am guessing is all, but perhaps Mr. Martin had a close call or two in the weeks or months leading up to this accident. Or maybe he hasn't been going up as regularly as he used to. Flying is a great experience, but in order to enjoy it safely you need to practice frequently, and perhaps an older pilot ought to go up even more often than required in the company of an instructor to keep himself sharp.Again, I'm glad he came through unscathed and in the end a little embarrassment is not that big a deal. I also want to express my eternal gratitude to my instructor, Bud Pinkston, of Great Bend, whose lessons and example have helped me in many ways in life.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

Salad, I once saw a 737 that a pilot dropped. The nosewheel punched through the wheelwell and the belly skins were wrinkled. The wings and main gear were already off when I saw it, so I don't know how screwed up those parts were. Out on YouTube somewhere is video of an MD-80 that lands so hard that the tail shears off.

igby 6 years, 7 months ago

Old age is not the culprit. My father-in-law belly skidded his beachcraft in Wichita. in 1986. This is a weakness for the weekend pilot who mentally panics when the time comes to land. Their distracted by too many little things and forget the most important. It's time to quit when this happens.Two years later he died of cancer.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

Cigareets and whuskey and wild wild womenThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insaneCigareets and whuskey and wild wild womenThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insaneOnce I was happy and had a good wifeI had enough money to last me for lifeI met with a gal and we went on a spreeShe taught me to smoke and drink whuskyCigareets and whuskey and wild wild womenThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insaneCigareets and whuskey and wild wild womenThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insaneAnd now I'm feeble and broken with ageThe lines on my face make a well written pageI'm leavin' this story how sad but how trueOn women and whusky and what they will doCigareets and whuskey and wild wild womenThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insaneCigareets and whuskey and wild wild womenThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insaneWrite on the cross at the head of my graveFor women and whusky here lies a poor slaveTake warning dear stranger take warning dear friendThen write in big letters these words at the endCigareets and whuskey and wild wild womenThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insaneCigareets and whuskey and wild wild womenThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insaneThey'll drive you crazy they'll drive you insane© UNICHAPPELL MUSIC INC;

classclown 6 years, 7 months ago

"The last time he flew into Lawrence, he parked next to a biz jet that was up on blocks."==================================My first thought on reading that was that someone stole the wheels.

salad 6 years, 7 months ago

Could be worse: my father in law owns a Mooney Executive, which is comparable to the Bonanza. The last time he flew into Lawrence, he parked next to a biz jet that was up on blocks. Turned out the pilot of the biz jet stalled the plane over the runway while landing. The whole thing only dropped about 10 feet, but it almost pushed the struts through the wings, bent the wings, bent the fuselage, and wrecked the gear. The plane was to be dismantled and sold for parts. I thought, "wow, how do you tell your boss that you totaled a $2 million jet because you were stupid."I guess that's how you end up flying planes for drug dealers: no one ligitimate will hire you.

Eride 6 years, 7 months ago

"Martin said he was returning to Lawrence from Miami County."Maybe he was falling asleep after stuffing himself on the wonderful BBQ from the Miami County airport?!

gphawk89 6 years, 7 months ago

"He used to call the Bonzanas (small prop plane), Doctor's Coffins, due to the high accident rate of a certain profession of the pilots."Yep. Happened to a doctor from my hometown. He set autopilot, fell asleep, and flew into the side of a Colorado mountain.

nekansan 6 years, 7 months ago

"why was he listening to a kc-air traffic controller?for safety's sake, at that time he should have been on 123.0mhz, the lawrence unicom, that's for airports without ATC. interesting little detail in story!"Most aircraft have more than one communications radio, which would allow him to monitor both KC Approach and Lawrence Unicom at the same time.

salad 6 years, 7 months ago

"Surely his license will be suspended or he will at least get a "ticket" from the F.A.A.???"Probably. I bet he got the radio message all pilots hate to hear upon landing, "Bonanza (tail number), please call the following number once you secure your aircraft..."Which means you need to call the FAA tell them what you did wrong, or they can tell YOU what you did wrong. : (

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

why was he listening to a kc-air traffic controller? for safety's sake, at that time he should have been on 123.0mhz, the lawrence unicom, that's for airports without ATC. interesting little detail in story! Must be nice to have 30 to 50 grand sitting around. Of course, he's 72. What the hell is he going to save it for?---what's he gonna spend it on? how 'bout:"cigareets, and whiskey, and wild-eyed women."
toe "what does this button do?" rotflmao! how many older and more forgetful pilots are up in the sky now? oh well, I guess its better than a lingeing death by cancer.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 7 months ago

Sigmund, Reality, and Valkyrie are all correct. I'd fly with this dude anytime.Reality :"but lightplane "hobby" aviation is dying because almost all of their children didn't take up flying themselves."It sure didn't help when the US manufacturers totally pulled out of light-plane manufacturing because of mushrooming tort liability concerns. And once the feds provided some relief, and the manufacturers came back into the market, that one-time $20,000 Cessna 150 was suddenly a $125,000 Cessna 152. I would say that the plaintiffs bar has more than a little blame on their hands for the decline of General Aviation in the US.

aero_steve 6 years, 7 months ago

It's not just a problem isolated to old weekend pilots.May 2006 - B-1B landing at Diego Garcia, pilot forgot to put the landing gear down. $14,000 in damages to the runway, $7.9 million to the plane. These clowns lost their wings.Pictures of the recovery and repairs:http://www.zianet.com/tedmorris/dg/bombers4.html

q_ball2kand1 6 years, 7 months ago

He also made the trip going 10 mph under the speed limit with his right turn signal on the whole time.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 7 months ago

Trekkie, sometimes that buzzer goes off just a little late for a quick reaction. Especially if you are coming in just a little fast. At least in little single engines.

OnlyTheOne 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah man. That's embarrassing enough without having it plastered on the front page.

warthog 6 years, 7 months ago

I'd say something funnier, but I don't have anything... lmao, q.

Janet Lowther 6 years, 7 months ago

Sigmund, the trial lawyers only nailed the top on the coffin of general aviation: Back before some time in the early '70s, if you had a business reason to use an airplane, you could deduct 100% of the fixed costs (insurance, annual inspections &c.) After that, you could only deduct those costs in proportion to the actual business use, which dramaticly increased the cost of owning an airplane for most folks. That pretty much killed the industry, then the lawyers buried it.

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