REDMOND, Ore. - Two people aboard a Bend flight school's small plane that encountered landing gear problems walked away unhurt from an emergency landing on its belly at Redmond Airport Thursday evening, authorities said.
Fire officials said the trouble began around 5 p.m. when a Cessna 172 practicing touch-and-go landings at Bend Airport got an indicator light of a problem with one of its three landing gears.
The pilot radioed the Redmond FAA tower and diverted north for a flyby of the tower, for a visual inspection.
Fire officials said they determined that two of the three landing gears were only partly down -- although the instrument panel lights indicated the reverse was the case.
A "Level 2" alert was called at the airport, and every Redmond fire station responded to deal with whatever happened, including the airport's large Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle.
That meant commercial flights had to be delayed and other runways closed, since fire crews and that unit were tied up.
"This type of situation probably happens only once or twice a year," said Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper, "We have smaller calls -- anything from (a pilot reporting) 'I think I might have a problem,' to 'I have a major problem, and I'm going to try to put it in here' -- it's more of a (potential) crash-type situation."
No one was injured, officials said, and flights resumed a short time later.