Small plane lands safely at North Perry Airport after experiencing mechanical problems

Pilot kisses ground after getting out of plane

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Todd Tongen - Anchor/Reporter

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. - A small plane landed safely at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines Thursday morning after experiencing mechanical problems, authorities said.

Authorities said the plane's front wheel would not lock into place as the pilot attempted to land the plane.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen confirmed that the single-engine Piper PA-28R-200's nose gear collapsed as it landed at 9:20 a.m.

Pilot Richard Uecker, who witnessed the hard landing, told Local 10 News that he was about to take off when he saw the plane was having problems with its nose gear. He took cellphone video of the emergency landing.

"I told him maybe he could go ahead and try to go back up and crank it back down, but he said he has already tried that, and he tried to hit the runway and bounce it to see if it would lock into place, but it didn't. So he came in and landed on his nose," Uecker said. 

Pembroke Pines police said the plane landed safely and the pilot and passenger got out injury free.

"He did great. He kept it on the center line and everything turned out fine," Uecker said.

Sky 10 was over the airport as the pilot kissed the ground after getting out of the plane.

"We had a Piper Arrow with a forced landing. Both pilot and student are safe and unharmed. They did a fantastic job and executed emergency procedures flawlessly," Wayman Aviation Vice President Eddy Luy said in a statement.

The plane is registered to Father & Daughter Aviation LLC in Sunny Isles Beach.

Although there were no injuries, the plane still sustained considerable damage.

"Anytime you have a prop strike like that you are going to have to tear the engine down and redo that," Uecker said. "It is probably going to be about $25,000 worth of damage to that airplane."

The FAA is investigating the incident. 

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