Detroit Firefighters Respond to Aircraft in Distress

On Wednesday March 11 around 1:15 p.m., Detroit City Airport Tower requested a fire department standby for the inbound aircraft emergency, Cessna type aircraft with one soul on board.

The pilot had declared an emergency while setting up to land because one of his landing gear had not deployed. The pilot made several passes on runway 7 so the tower could visualize if his landing gear was stowed or deployed. He stated that he had approximately one hour of fuel left and was attempting to burn off as much as possible before attempting an emergency landing. During the passes, the tower notified the pilot that his right rear gear was down but not locked.

Detroit Fire Communications dispatched four engines, two ladders, two squads and a battalion chief initially on the run. However, E20, the airport crash rig, initially did not respond because it was closed due to manpower.

After receiving a briefing from city airport, Chief 9 advised Central Office that he was declaring this incident a Haz-Mat Level 3. He requested that Central find a Certified Airport FEO to fill E20's quarters and put the airport crash rig in service.

He also requested Detroit Police to close Conner Avenue between Gratiot to the south and McNichols (6 Mile) to the north.

After approximately a half hour of circling the airport the pilot made to the decision to make an emergency landing. He requested runway 33 due to the crosswind effect. He wanted to land on his nose and left gear hoping the wind out of the west would keep his right side elevated until he could slow down trying to minimize the damage to the aircraft.

The aircraft landed on runaway 33 around 2 p.m. He was able to maintain control of the aircraft through the initial landing but spun off into the grass between the runway and taxiway. The pilot was not injured and walked away from the incident.

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