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Tough Landing

Posted on 8/28/2008

A tough landing
Jackie Hyra The Jamestown Sun
Published Thursday, August 28, 2008

Twelve years of flying experience paid off Wednesday morning when Casey Seckerson, 32, safely landed his crop duster at Jamestown Regional Airport on one wheel.

Seckerson had set out at dawn to spray aphids on his soybean field southwest of Jamestown. He was returning to his farm air strip, checking the windsock for wind direction, when his father alerted him from the ground that something was wrong with the plane.

"I flew over the farm and my dad recognized that some landing gear was missing," Seckerson said.

Corey Seckerson, far right, talks with airport officials after landing his crop duster on one wheel Wednesday at Jamestown Regional Airport. John M. Steiner The Sun
Jackie Hyra Archive
Seckerson decided to fly to Jamestown Regional Airport rather than land at the farm in case the landing went poorly.

Meanwhile, Andrew Schneider, airport director, said the family alerted the airport around 9:46 a.m. that Seckerson would be landing with the left landing gear missing. About 10 minutes later, Seckerson arrived at the airport.

Airport staff had called Jamestown Ambulance, which arrived after Seckerson had already landed the plane. The ambulance left when rescuers saw they weren't needed.

"Better to have them and not need them," Schneider said.

Seckerson said he wasn't really too nervous heading for the airport. Instead, he was planning what he would do when he touched down. He killed the engine just before landing and flew by "instinct."

"You can control it (the plane) and use the air lift for so long," he said. "I carried it on one wheel for a while. I think I got the plane down to 40 mph before it (the left wing) dropped."

Seckerson said using the wind to keep the plane balanced as long as possible was just a matter of feeling what was happening. Had he not been so experienced, things might have turned out differently. But due to his ability, he simply walked - shaken but uninjured - from the plane, which suffered minimal damage.

Schneider said he was impressed with how Seckerson handled the plane.

"I've been around airplanes for quite a while, and he did a very good job of putting it down," Schneider said.

Seckerson said the FAA hasn't decided whether it will classify the landing as an accident or an incident. The latter doesn't require an investigation.

Sun reporter Jackie Hyra can be reached at (701) 952-8455 or by e-mail at jackieh@jamestownsun.com