Landing gear fails at Castle Airport, but no one in plane hurt

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comApril 8, 2013 

— No one was hurt Sunday afternoon when the front landing gear of a plane collapsed after setting down at Castle Airport.

The incident was reported shortly after 3 p.m. after the small twin-engine aircraft landed at Castle, according to Gabriel Santos, spokesman for Merced County Fire Department/Cal Fire.

After landing, the landing gear collapsed and the plane traveled for about 100 yards before coming to a stop. The plane came to a rest with its nose pointing downward, Santos said.

Firefighters and emergency personnel responded to the scene, but the two instructors traveling in the plane weren't hurt, and no fire was reported.

Santos said the incident is an example of why the airport control tower is necessary. Tower personnel were able to communicate with two planes in the air, Santos said, to notify them about the situation on the ground.

Tower personnel were also able to quickly notify firefighters and emergency personnel. "Thankfully the tower was staffed and available to assist with reporting the incident," Santos said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Traffic Safety Board were both notified about the incident, Santos said.

Castle's control tower is on a list of 149 at small airports nationwide that are slated to be closed because of federal government-wide spending cuts.

The FAA on Friday announced it was putting off the closure until mid-June. FAA officials said they need more time to deal with legal challenges to the closures.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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