The pilot of a six-seater float plane made an emergency landing at Niagara District Airport on Saturday.
The call came in at about 5:30 p.m. and was the first emergency landing signal in nearly three years. The plane's pilot indicated the vehicle had lost one of its landing gear, but thanks to the pilot's skill and preparations by the airport, he was able to land safely.
The pilot was flying a Cessna T206 with amphibious floats. The airport was closed for two hours to deal with the emergency.
“We can be prepared, we can have all the services prepared in case something does go wrong,” said Niagara District Airport chief executive officer Daniel Pilon.
But when it comes to emergency landings there is little an airport can do from the ground and all hope rests on the pilot’s skill, he said
“The pilot did a masterful job of landing that plane on three wheels.”
The flight originated in Port Huron, Mich. The pilot performed a touch-and-go at an airport in London, Ont., before heading to Niagara. During the touch-and-go landing one of the front landing gear was destroyed.
Touch-and-go procedures are often part of pilot training as they allow students to practise many landings in succession. Pilon couldn’t comment on the nature of the pilot's touch-and-go in this situation.
“It’s eminently normal in aviation,” he said.
Emergency landings are a rare occurrence at Niagara District Airport, with the last one occurring in 2018, Pilon said.
With the safe landing by the pilot, Pilon appreciated the chance for his staff to practice emergency protocols.
“It’s always good to have opportunities to work our emergency plans and it’s absolutely best when we have the ability to work those plans when there’s absolutely zero incident to anyone,” he said.
“We’re thankful at the end of the day that no one was hurt and everything worked out fine.”