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Cheers as King Air makes ‘textbook’ wheels-up landing

written by Adam Thorn | May 13, 2024

The pilot of the Beechcraft B200 Super King Air flew over water to burn fuel before making a perfect wheels-up landing.

The pilot of a Beechcraft B200 Super King Air was cheered by onlookers as he made a “textbook” wheels-up landing in Newcastle on Monday.

Everybody on board, including two passengers in their 60s, seemingly escaped without injuries after an incident with the landing gear was identified shortly after take-off at 8:30am.

The aircraft, VH-XDV, circled for more than three hours, heading out over water to burn fuel, before returning to make a perfect ‘belly landing’ at 12:15pm.

Superintendent Wayne Humphrey said the two passengers “jumped in the car and drove home” after the King Air landed.

“They got out of the plane themselves, so there wasn’t a lot of need for us too much, to be honest, so it was a great result. Really well done by the pilot,” he said.

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“I could hear [the pilot] on the air. He sounded really calm to me.”

The Eastern Air Services’ charter flight took off this morning from Newcastle Airport for what was meant to be a short service to Port Macquarie.

However, according to reports, the pilot, a 53-year-old man from Queensland, soon became aware of an “in-flight technical issue” with the landing gear.

After circling to burn fuel, he powered down the engines and made a perfect landing as defence and emergency services at RAAF Base Williamtown waited by the runway to assist.

A Careflight helicopter was also on standby.

The ABC reports there were “loud cheers” from crowds that had gathered at the airport’s perimeter to watch.

“We’re incredibly relieved the aircraft landed safely this afternoon,” Newcastle Airport said later on social media.

“We’re investigating options to recover the aircraft and re-open the airfield as soon as possible.”

The aircraft had been scheduled to fly another four sectors on Monday – likely meaning it was carrying a full fuel tank.

Superintendent Humphrey later added the runway would remain closed for up to 24 hours until the aircraft could be safely recovered.

“But if they get it off before then, well it will be reopened,” he said.

“I’m led to believe the early indication is that if there was any damage on the runway, it would be superficial at best, but that will be a matter for the Air Force and Newcastle Airport to work through.”

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