SOSU plane makes emergency landing during training flight

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DURANT, OK -- A flight instructor and student found themselves in a potentially dangerous situation last Tuesday.

University officials say during a training flight, a mechanical malfunction caused the plane's landing gear to get stuck.

Director David Conway said the left-side gear wouldn't fully retract or extend.

"And we tried to trouble shoot the situation. And there was no resolve," he said. "And so the decision was made to retract the two good gear and land gear up."

Gear-up - in other words, sliding in on the plane's belly.

"The pilot did exactly what he's suppose to do, came in, landed the airplane, settled down," he said. "I think the skid mark was about 40 yards."

Conway said the two-man crew circled for an hour while they tried to trouble shoot.

Meanwhile, first-responder crews were on-hand.

"In case something did happen. In case it did crash and flip over, or someone was trapped, yes that's why we're on hand," said Fire Captain Dustin Rudolf.

The landing bent the plane's propeller and scratched the under-side of the plane.

Conway said they're waiting on insurance adjusters to tell them the extent of the damage.

SOSU acquired the CESSNA R182 plane in 2003, according to the FAA. The fixed wing, single-engine plane was made in 1978

Conway said they regularly inspect all planes in-depth to determine their safety.

"Anything mechanical is gonna break sometime. And this is just one of those times that it broke. We don't fly unsafe airplanes," he said.

Conway said they train their pilots to mentally prepare for problems.

"It becomes routine at that point. We just take and handle the situation," he said.

Rudolf said no one was injured.

"Any time you can walk away from a skid landing, sounds like to me it would be a good landing," he said.

The FAA is investigation. They expect to release a report in the next couple weeks.

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