A crane operator moves into position to lift up an Alaska Air Transit Piper 31-350 Navajo-Chieftain off the Homer Airport runway last Saturday evening. The plane landed gear up about 4:10 p.m. May 16. No one was injured in the incident.-Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

A crane operator moves into position to lift up an Alaska Air Transit Piper 31-350 Navajo-Chieftain off the Homer Airport runway last Saturday evening. The plane landed gear up about 4:10 p.m. May 16. No one was injured in the incident.-Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

Cause of troubled landing unknown

The cause of a gear-up aircraft landing on Saturday has not yet been determined and remains under investigation. National Transportation Safety Board investigators still have not even found if the incident involving an Alaska Air Transit charter flight caused sufficient damage to warrant NTSB review. The investigation is in its infancy, with a preliminary report to be issued in a week to 10 days, said NTSB investigator Shaun Williams of Anchorage.

The one pilot and seven passengers all walked away from the hard landing and had no injuries, said Alaska Air Transit director of operations Dan Owen. He said he did not know why the wheels were up when the plane attempted to land. 

The incident happened about 4:10 p.m. when an inbound flight from Tatitlek in Prince William Sound tried to land as it approached from the east on Runway 22. The plane, a twin-engine Piper PA-31-350 Navajo-Chieftain, stopped at the far east end of the runway. The Homer Volunteer Fire Department responded, but did not treat or transport anyone. The incident also did not cause any fire.

The hard landing bent the props, Williams said. The Navajo-Chieftain fuel tanks are in the wings, and the plane is designed so that tanks won’t rupture in the event landing gear fails, he said.

The incident closed down the Homer Airport until about 7:30 p.m. when NTSB released the plane and it could be moved off the runway. At about 7 p.m. a crane had moved into position to move the plane. The 7:30 p.m. Ravn flight from Homer to Anchorage was cancelled and the inbound Ravn plane did not land.

An October 2013 gear-up landing involving an Era Aviation Beechcraft plane remains under investigation, Williams said. Because it involved a scheduled air carrier, the incident is being investigated by the Washington, D.C., NTSB office. A final report should be issued soon.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Homer City Council candidate Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Traffic moves north along the Sterling Highway shortly after a fatal crash closed the highway for several hours Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The state is seeking federal funding for a project aimed at improving safety along the Sterling Highway between mileposts 82.5 to 94, or between Sterling and Soldotna. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to federal funding for Sterling Highway project

The project is aimed at improving highway safety between Sterling and Soldotna.

Ethan Benton (left) and Laura Walters of Kodiak win the vaccine lottery for the Alaska Chamber's week one vaccine lottery giveaway "Give AK a Shot." (Screenshot)
State names winners in 1st vaccine lottery

A Valdez and Kodiak resident took home checks for $49,000 each.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The project was discontinued in August due to vandalism.
Vandalism ends Soldotna library program

The StoryWalk was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends.

Juneau Empire file
The Coast Guard medevaced a 90-year-old suffering stroke-like symptoms near Ketchikan aboard a 45-foot response boat-medium like this one, seen in Juneau, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Coast Guard medevacs man from yacht near Ketchikan

The 90-year-old suffered symptoms of a stroke.

James Varsos, also known as “Hobo Jim,” poses for a photo during the August 2016, Funny River Festival in Funny River, Alaska, in August 2016. (Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Hobo Jim’ opens up about recent terminal cancer diagnosis

Varsos was named Alaska’s official “state balladeer” in 1994.

Most Read