BLM plane lands safely | RecordCourier.com
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BLM plane lands safely

by Merrie Leininger

Emergency personnel were called to the Minden-Tahoe Airport Friday morning when a Sierra Front Fire District plane discovered a problem with one landing gear shortly after they took off.

Minden-Tahoe Airport personnel, Douglas County Sheriff’s officers and East Fork Fire and Paramedics prepared for the worst when one landing gear on a four-seater plane would not retract after take-off.

The pilot, Don Moline, called in the problem and circled the airport as maintenance people tried to determine if the gear was locked down into place so the plane could land safely. The passenger was Diane Pryce. Both people work for the Bureau of Land Management.

Using binoculars and another plane to fly beside the troubled plane, it was determined the plane probably would not have trouble landing, and did not, said Airport Manager Jim Braswell.

“We try to assess the problem and if the sheriff’s office and the fire department feel we can deal with the issue, we close the field and land the plane; if not, we would sent it onto another field that could handle it. Ultimately, it’s the pilot’s decision. He has to use his judgement, because he’s up there; we’re down here,” Braswell said.

Trent Moyers, airport operations supervisor, said the landing gear had an part stuck in it that is used to stabilize the plane while it is being jacked up.

Last week, the plane was jacked up so the wheel could be removed. The part was accidentally left in the landing gear, preventing the wheel from retracting completely.

However, the pilot could not tell if the wheel was completely down and locked, said East Fork Fire Deputy Chief Steve Eisele.

“A crop dusting plane flew next to it to get a close-up visual,” he said. “Then we just put all the equipment in place.”

Genoa Fire Department and Douglas County Engine Co.waited on the runway while the plane gently touched down.