CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) - A flight instructor piloting a single-engine plane with a student aboard was forced to make an emergency landing at Prior Aviation in Cheektowaga without using landing gear.
Tonawanda native Gloria Green doesn't like being in the spotlight, but she's getting high praise from colleagues who say she did an outstanding job under pressure.
Gloria Green was with a student Monday afternoon and returning to the airport when she discovered her landing gear wasn't locking into place. She remained calm just minutes before she would have to land the four-seater plane on its belly.
"I'm positive I don't have a left main gear, I'm just wondering if I do have a nose gear to work with, so the trucks will be good and I guess I will declare an emergency at this time," Green said when she radioed the control tower.
Green said she was reluctant to declare an emergency as she hoped the landing gear would start working. But her colleagues say she did make it work. Green had a "textbook" emergency landing. Though there were some sparks, there were no flames.
Green said, "It's loud as it scrapes across the ground. It's a little bit loud, but it happens very quick. I did think about[the fire] but it was a high-wing airplane so I knew it was minimal, that's why we shut down the engine. We turned off the fuel system right before landed and we just evacuated quickly before we really had time to think about it."
In the end, Green says this incident shouldn't deter aspiring pilots from taking lessons.
"Your car breaks down sometimes and you have to pullover and change a tire or something, so it's something you train for," she explained.
And though you might think a student would be terrified, Green says he was calm under pressure and helped her run through the emergency landing checklist.
"He absolutely was a huge help," she said.
Green says he even opened the door of the plane before she set it down to aid in their quick escape.
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