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T-33 Involved In Gear-Up Landing

No Injuries, Limited Damage To Plane Reported

A 1957 T-33 trainer came in for a belly landing at St. George, Utah Friday, after the gear malfunctioned. The pilot, Kay Eckardt, flew to burn off excess fuel, then executed the landing flawlessly. He was not injured, and the plane is said to have sustained little damage.

The plane is painted in US Navy Blue Angels livery, but is not affiliated with the famous demo team. (File photo shows similar aircraft.) It has been on display at the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum at the airport. According to a report on Thespectrum.com, the runway was foamed prior to the landing, and fire crews and a Life Flight helicopter were placed on standby, but none were needed. A crane was used to remove the aircraft from the runway.

The plane was reportedly scheduled to be on static display at next month's "Thunder Over Utah" airshow at St. George, but there's no word on whether it will be in condition to appear at the show.

The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star dates back to the late 1940s, and was developed to transition piston fighter pilots to jets. Based on the F-80 fighter, with a stretched fuselage to allow a second seat in tandem configuration, the advanced trainer was phased out of front-line duty by the US Air Force starting in the early 1960s, but remains in service to this day in other nations.

FMI: www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=366

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