Governor Blunt's Plane Makes Emergency Landing
The Governor's staff says the left landing gear didn't appear to go down as the plane was about to land in Kirksville. Plane sensors said there was a problem. The two pilots were rerouted to Columbia with the Governor and four staff members.
Pilot Ray Vanguilder accounted what he saw at Columbia Regional Airport: "We were in the air and we heard a pilot call and he said there was a problem with the gear light."
Vanguilder was about to land his plane when he heard a the plane next to him was in trouble.
The pilots say the left landing gear wasn't down and in a locked position. Fearing a possible crash, the pilots rerouted to Columbia because they said Columbia is better equipped to handle an emergency landing.
Vanguilder watched the plane land at Columbia Regional. "I was hoping everything was alright, because I am a pilot too, and we have done that before," said Vanguilder.
The governor's staff says the plane flew by the control tower at the Columbia Regional Airport. After a good look, the tower said the landing gear was down. As a precautionary measure the pilots landed the plane with the engines off.
"The landing was a little more quiet than usual but it wasn't bumpy or any different than usual landings." said Jessica Robinson a spokesperson for Governor Blunt.
"We had great pilots and they handled it professionally and responsibly and it's a great aircraft so I'm glad to continue to talk about this issue," Governor Blunt said.
Vanguilder was unaware he was watching a special plane land.
After waiting an hour at the airport, the governor chartered another jet so he could head to Cape Girardeau to continue to promote his school funding initiative.