Aircraft’s emergency landing at Newcastle Airport

Emergency services on standby at Newcastle Airport before the emergency landing.

A LIGHT aircraft made an emergency landing at Newcastle Airport after its landing gear failed on a rainy Monday last week.

The aircraft, a Beechcraft B-200 King Air, took off from Newcastle at 8:30am, with 53-year-old pilot Peter Schott at the controls, and two passengers from Tuggerah, Central Coast on board.

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The intended flight was a direct route to Port Macquarie, but Mr Schott soon discovered after his post take-off checks that there was a technical issue with the landing gear, meaning the aircraft would not be able to conduct a ‘wheels down’ landing.

As an experienced pilot, and knowing that Newcastle’s runway is shared by RAAF Williamtown with associated emergency assets, Mr Schott informed Air Traffic Control that he intended to abort the route to Port Macquarie, and attempt to land ‘wheels up’ at Newcastle.

The problem with this decision is that the aircraft was fully fuelled and needed to jettison the excess fuel for fear of igniting during the emergency landing.

For almost four hours, residents from Anna Bay and the surrounding areas observed the aircraft circling the sky as it dumped fuel over the sea and emergency preparation was carried out at the airport.

Shortly after 12pm on Monday 13 May, the aircraft made its final approach with no landing gear visible to onlookers at the airport, and descended in a ‘text book’ manner, conducting what is known as a ‘belly’ landing, sliding to an eventual halt whilst the engines were cut.

As the first RAAF fire engine arrived on site, the two passengers were seen calmly exiting the rear cabin door, followed closely by the pilot.

At a press conference following the incident, Superintendent Wayne Humphrey from NSW Police said that the two passengers were able to drive home after a checkover by emergency staff.

“It was a great result, really well done by the pilot,” he said.

“I could hear him on the air, he sounded very calm to me.”

Superintendent Humphrey said that everyone in the On Scene Command Station applauded when the aircraft landed safely.

Speaking to local press afterwards, pilot Peter Schott said, “I would have done this exercise for students, I don’t know, 200, 300 times, so it was quite textbook.”

After being praised for his actions, Mr Schott was asked about his next move.

“I’ll have a wine I think,” he said.

By Simon EKINS

A Beechcraft 200 King Air similar to the one that made the emergency landing.

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