WMU News

WMU aviators put emergency procedures to work

September 2, 1998

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. -- A Western Michigan University aviation instructor and a student pilot successfully completed an emergency landing Sept. 1 at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek. Preparing to land after completing a routine training flight in a single engine Mooney Ovation, the aviators discovered that the landing gear failed to fully extend. The landing was aborted and when a back-up system also failed to deploy the gear, School of Aviation officials contacted the manufacture for further assistance. When all measures to extend the gear failed, the decision was made to prepare for an emergency landing. The airport crash rescue team was brought in. At approximately 4:30 p.m., the landing was successfully completed without the use of landing gear.

Both student and instructor were unscathed after completing what Joseph Dunlap, director of the School of Aviation Sciences calls, "a perfect emergency landing." Dunlap notes that while emergency procedures are rigorously followed, seldom is a pilot asked to bring a plane down in such circumstances. "This is something you can only practice in a flight simulator. I'm proud of the way they both handled the situation."

The pilots remained in radio contact with school and airport tower officials during the entire emergency. The Federal Aviation Authority was notified and a representative from its Grand Rapids office was sent to review the incident. Damage to the plane was minimal.

The instructor on the flight was Jason Bechtel. The student pilot was Jeremy Hudson, an aviation sciences junior from Linwood, Mich.

Media contact: Joe Dunlap, 616 964-4744

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