Single-engine plane makes hard landing in Trenton

Posted June 30, 2012, at 5:49 p.m.

TRENTON, Maine — A private, single-engine plane made a difficult but safe landing Saturday at the Hancock County Bar Harbor Airport.

Deputy Chris Sargent of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said the dispatcher center was contacted at about noon, though he did not know whether the pilot of the plane called directly or whether the airport had summoned public safety assistance.

The pilot was unable to activate the landing gear on the single-engine Piper Commanche, possibly due to electronic problems, Sargent said.

The pilot and his adult female passenger, whom the deputy did not name, are from Pennsylvania.

After concluding that landing gear was not going to deploy, the pilot flew around the airport for a short time to burn off fuel, thereby reducing the risk of a fire on landing, Sargent said.

“They landed the aircraft on its belly. The landing went very smoothly, for that kind of landing,” he said.

The pilot, his passenger and a dog also on board were uninjured, Sargent said. The bottom of the fuselage and the propellor were damaged, he said, but there was no fuel leak and no fire associated with the rough landing.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident beginning Monday, Sargent said. The FAA gave the airport its approval to move the plane. One runway was closed for a short time.

In addition to Sargent and Deputy Shane Campbell, the airport’s fire department, the Trenton Fire Department and County Ambulance all responded to the call, but were not needed.

Sargent said the pilot told him the landing “went off pretty smoothly,” but that he was shaking after getting out of the plane.

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