Buffalo plane damaged in emergency landing

A pair of Buffalo Airways pilots found themselves in a real-life drama Monday after they were forced to land the L-188 Electra airplane they were flying on
only two wheels. 

The four-engine turbo-prop aircraft was badly damaged after the crew was unable to drop the landing gear beneath the plane’s right wing and had to land without it, causing the plane to spin off the runway on its wing and belly at the Yellowknife Airport at around 11:15 a.m.

No one on board was injured. There were six people on the plane, including a cameraman for the popular reality TV show Ice Pilots NWT, according to Department of Transportation spokesperson Earl Blacklock. However, airline president “Buffalo” Joe McBryan said there were only five people on board and none of them was a cameraman.

“There was nobody hurt and it was a textbook following of procedure in an
emergency,” said McBryan.

“They were very well-trained and executed a landing that was brought on by a mechanical problem with one undercarriage
and that was it.”

McBryan confirmed that Capt. Ray Weber and co-pilot Sean Barry were flying the plane.

Both have made appearances on the History Television show, currently in its third season.

Earl Blacklock, manager of communications for the Department of Transportation, said the plane attempted two touch-and-go landings, which involves landing briefly on a runway without stopping, before taking off again. When the gear did not lock, the pilot decided to land on two wheels.

Blacklock explained that sometimes when a plane’s gear fails to drop on one side, a pilot can land hard on the good side to deploy the
malfunctioning gear.

He said the plane was forced into a spin before halting on the side of the runway.

“It made a successful landing,” said Blacklock, adding the six people on board were able to walk on their own.

He said such scenarios don’t happen often, but  it is not uncommon, either.

“I’ve seen about three of these in the last four years,” he said.

“The main danger to those on board would have been if the plane caught fire, but that is why you have the airport firefighters standing by.”

The GNWT provided two trucks – a fire engine and water truck – which were waiting on the tarmac to
assist. The Yellowknife Fire Department provided three trucks and ambulances were also on the scene.

McBryan said that the important thing was that no one was injured.

“The only concern we have is that when something like this happens nobody gets hurt,” he said.