‘Wheels-up’ landing investigation begins

The King Air B200.

AN investigation into the cause of an emergency landing on the shared runway of RAAF Williamtown/Newcastle Airport last month is being conducted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The pilot of a King Air B200 light aircraft, registered to Eastern Air Link Pty Ltd, made the reportedly textbook landing after discovering a fault with the aircraft’s landing gear shortly after taking off from Newcastle on the morning of 13 May.

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With two passengers on board, the pilot, named as Peter Schott from Queensland, received an unsafe landing gear indication as the landing gear failed to retract correctly.

When the landing gear then failed to correctly extend, Mr Schott, in consultation with RAAF Williamtown Air Traffic Control, made the decision to abort the planned flight to Port Macquarie.

The aircraft then circled the Port Stephens area to burn off fuel before returning to Newcastle where Mr Schott conducted a wheels-up landing resulting in airframe and powerplant damage.

There were no casualties, and all three people on board were able to walk calmly away from the aircraft as RAAF Williamtown emergency crews arrived on scene.

“The evidence collection phase of the investigation will involve evaluation of the landing gear fault, interviewing involved parties, the examination of maintenance records, and the collection of other relevant information,” a statement on the Safety Bureau’s website announced.

“A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation and should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken.”

The anticipated completion date of the investigation is expected to be no later than December 2024.

By Simon EKINS

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