Gear Problem Spurred Emergency Landing
A flight instructor and a student
walked away from a forced belly landing at New Jersey's Morristown
Municipal Airport (MMU) last week.
American Flyers' Flight instructor Nikola Vadjon, 34, skillfully
brought the Cessna 172RG Cutlass in for a spark-filled landing
Friday, on a runway lined with ready for action firefighters.
Michael Bliss, an American Flyers employee, said the Cessna took
off around 9 a.m. and had enough fuel for six hours of flying.
"They were never in danger of running out of fuel," Bliss said.
The landing gear that operates from a hydraulic system got stuck
and would not come down, according to the Morristown Record. "The
pivot assembly probably broke," Bliss said.
Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration,
said the agency is classifying the mishap as an "incident, not an
American Flyers is responsible for hiring a mechanic to
determine what went wrong with the landing gear and will have to
report back to the FAA, according to Peters.
Vadjon was on a training flight with an unidentified female
student pilot when the landing gear failed to retract and lock.
"It was a textbook landing," said Marie S. Renner, the manager
of government affairs for the airport, which is in Hanover. "The
people got out just fine."
The event was over near noon after the pilot landed safely the
On the ground, airport Fire Chief Doug Reighard had his crew and
a contingent from the Morristown Fire Department standing by in
As the plane touched down it sent a shower of sparks shooting
across the asphalt. When the Cessna came to a stop firefighters
doused the plane with flame-retardant foam as a precaution.
"Outside of being a little shook up, they were OK," Reighard
said. "Actually, I think they were feeling pretty good about
Bliss said the pilot was very cool under pressure, using his
cell phone to call the flight school. Bliss took the call and put
Vadjon in touch with a mechanic who tried to walk him through
fixing the problem in-flight before the emergency landing was
"He was totally professional," Bliss said. "Nobody could have