2018-07-07 / News

Emergency Landing Closes Island Airport

Mackinac Island Airport was closed for about four hours Wednesday, July 4, as a private plane suffering electrical problems made an emergency landing. The pilot and two passengers aboard the single-engine Mooney 252 were uninjured when the plane skidded to a stop because the landing gear failed to deploy.

Airport manager Myron Johnson said the pilot, who lives in California, reported smoke in the cockpit of the plane as he came in for a landing. The pilot was part of a cross-country journey and had made a few stops on his way from California to Mackinac Island, Mr. Johnson said.

There were fuel leaks.

The airport was closed at about 10:30 a.m. and reopened by about 2:30 p.m.

The biggest challenge dealing with the incident, Mr. Johnson said, was that an airplane mechanic was difficult to find over the Independence Day holiday. A mechanic was needed to move the plane from the runway, clearing the way for other air traffic. Mackinac County Airport manager Paul Fullerton found a mechanic in Charlevoix who traveled to the Island and inspected the plane. After the initial report was made, the Federal Aviation Administration agreed to have the plane moved.

“It took a little longer to get the plane moved than it would have,” Mr. Johnson said, owning to getting a mechanic on the Island.

The aircraft will stay here until an in-depth mechanical inspection and repairs are completed.

This is the second incident in four days at the Mackinac Island Airport. Sunday, July 1, a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron from Benton Harbor crashed through the wood fence at the west end of the runway as a private pilot attempted to abort a takeoff. Mr. Johnson said the pilot saw something in his instruments that caused him to abort taking off, but he did so too late and wasn’t able to stop before reaching the fence. There were no injuries and the plane appears to have sustained minimal damage on the outside, he said. That plane will also remain on the Island until it can be inspected.

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