Augusta State Airport employees tow an airplane Thursday from the tarmac after a landing gear malfunction that brought the single propellor craft to rest on its belly. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — A Maine Instrument Flight plane with malfunctioning landing gear landed Thursday at the Augusta State Airport, with no injuries reported to either of the plane’s two occupants.

John Guimond, airport manager, said Friday that the disabled aircraft forced the airport to close its main runway for a couple hours in order to remove the plane after its landing gear collapsed. Federal Aviation Administration officials identified the plane as a single-engine Beechcraft C24R.

Guimond described it as a minor incident and said neither the pilot nor passenger were injured. He said the plane occupants, whom he did not name, were a flight instructor for Maine Instrument Flight and a student pilot who were landing when the plane’s landing gear malfunctioned and collapsed, forcing the plane to land on its belly and come skidding to a stop.

Officials of Maine Instrument Flight, the Augusta State Airport’s fixed base operator which describes itself as Maine’s only full-service aviation company, declined to comment on the incident, the extent of damage to the plane, or reveal the identities of those aboard the plane. FAA records indicate the Maine Instrument Flight-owned plane was manufactured in 1979.

FAA officials, in an emailed statement, said the plane, which has retractable landing gear, landed with its gear up around 3:30 p.m. Thursday with two people aboard. The official said the agency would investigate the incident.

Steve Leach, deputy fire chief in Augusta, said firefighters and an ambulance responded to the airport but the ambulance wasn’t needed as there were no injuries.

Guimond said the pilot and passenger were able to get out of the plane and call for help. The smaller of the airport’s two runways remained open while its main runway was closed while the plane was removed.

 


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