Plane makes emergency landing at Columbia Regional Airport

Thursday, September 30, 2010 | 12:29 p.m. CDT; updated 12:45 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 30, 2010

COLUMBIA — Trouble with the landing gear led to an uneasy night at Columbia Regional Airport.

A chartered plane bound for Ypsilanti, Mich., was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing shortly after taking off from the airport. The plane left at 9:40 p.m. but came back at 10:45 p.m.

The plane was unable to raise its landing gear after takeoff, so the pilots circled back to Columbia Regional Airport for the emergency landing. The Columbia Fire Department was on scene in case of emergency but the plane landed without incident.

“Everything went smoothly,” said Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief James Weaver.

The plane was undergoing maintenance work to fix the problem and was still being repaired Thursday morning.

The plane is a Learjet chartered by Kalitta Charters based out of Ypsilanti and was carrying two pilots and a passenger.

"Our biggest concern was for the inconvenience of the passenger," said Berry Birurakis general manager for Kalitta Charters.

The passenger was in Columbia for personal reasons, Birurakis said.

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Ray Shapiro September 30, 2010 | 4:18 p.m.

Good thing they didn't land on Highway 63 where it meets up with I-70.
They'd have to visit Walmart and might never have found their way out of this area.

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