Beginner pilot pulls off solo emergency landing after wheel falls off mid-flight
A young trainee pilot managed to safely land a small aircraft solo after one of the front wheels fell off while mid-flight.
Taylor Hash, 21, managed to touch down at Oakland County International Airport in Michigan, US, despite the malfunction.
She was flying a two-seat, single-engine Diamond DA20-C1 aircraft when the incident occurred on 24 March.
A more experienced pilot, Chris Yates, spotted that the plane was missing part of its landing gear and immediately contacted air traffic control (ATC), who alerted Ms Hash.
“Pre-flight the aircraft was normal, I checked that everything was good, did an exterior check and everything looked great,” she told FOX 2.
“I got in the plane, started the engine up, called on the radio and asked for clearance to taxi to the runway. Everything was perfectly fine.”
After Mr Yates sounded the alarm, an ATC operator told Ms Hash: “Diamond 8 Charlie you lost your front nose gear tire on rotation and that’s definitely how it appears out the window.”
Mr Yates then proceeded to talk the less experienced pilot through the procedure of landing the aircraft without its front wheel.
“Taylor this is Chris, my daughter’s name is Taylor, and I taught her to fly,” he told her over the radio. “We’re gonna be just fine, kiddo.”
“That’s it kid, nice job, the nose is gonna come down, you’re OK, you’re OK, talk to me kid, proud of you,” he could be heard saying over the radio.
Ms Hash described the experience as “intense”, saying it was her “most important landing to date” and “probably my most important landing ever.”
She commended Mr Yates on keeping her calm during the stressful landing. “Just having someone to have a conversation with me, and not be so official with the aviation language – it was just calming. It was perfect and just what I needed in that moment,” she said.
Describing it as “an emotional day”, Ms Hash said the incident hasn’t put her off flying.
“I tell everyone, when I was in the air, through all that, I told myself, ‘I’m done, this is it, I’m not doing this again’,” she said. “But as soon as I got on the ground and I realised everything was OK, and I was OK, I realised: you know, I’m meant to do this.”