Pilot uninjured after dangerous landing
Three local members of the Tahoe-Truckee U.S. Civil Air Patrol didn’t have far to go to find an aircraft accident on Saturday morning.
The members ended up being the first responders as a local pilot made a wheels-up landing on the main runway at the Truckee Tahoe Airport at about 10 a.m.
The aircraft slid to a stop about midway down the runway, leaving a trail of smoke behind. There was no fire and no injury reported.
The pilot was making a normal landing in his Mooney 201, a single engine, four-seat aircraft, and did not have any indication that there was a problem with the landing gear so no emergency call had been made.
Three local pilots assigned to the Truckee Civil Air Patrol Squadron ” Scott Kennedy, Bob Auguste and Doug Taggart ” had just returned from an aerial search mission south of Truckee and were putting away their plane when the Mooney landed, coming to rest about 200 yards from the hangar.
Taggart alerted his two fellow members as he saw the plane landing, seemingly off the runway and trailing smoke. As it stopped, it was clear it was on its belly, without the landing gear in position, Taggart said in an e-mail to the Sierra Sun.
The three drove over to the aircraft, arriving within 30 seconds of the plane stopping. Kennedy immediately checked on the pilot, who had not yet gotten out of the plane, and also checked that the master switch was off, to cut down on any chances of fire.
Taggart checked the area for leaking fuel while Auguste radioed the airport and emergency authorities who were not yet aware of the accident.
They also checked to see if the emergency locator device had triggered due to the rougher-than-normal landing impact.
Airport, fire and police officials arrived within minutes to take over the scene and remove the aircraft from the runway.
The Tahoe-Truckee Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol is involved with search and rescue of missing planes and people along with specialized training to respond to natural disasters in cooperation with various emergency services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Chartered by Congress and working with the U.S. Air Force, they also provide a youth Cadet Program and Aerospace Education.