Depending on how far people are traveling, they often opt to take a flight, as they can reach the desired destination in almost half the time it would have taken to drive. If that was the plan for passengers on board SkyWest’s Flight 5316 operating as United Express, they may have reconsidered their travel plans when the plane experienced issues with its landing gear and had to perform an emergency landing.
The plane flew safely from Monterey, California to Los Angeles, but when it came time to land, the left main landing gear failed to extend. The issue with the landing gear forced the plane to perform an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport. There were 43 passengers on board the plane including the three crew members. Thankfully, no one was injured during the emergency landing.
The landing gear is located in the undercarriage of an aircraft and is used to support the plane during takeoff and landing. Over the years, there have been many accidents resulting from landing gear malfunctions or human error. In 2004, it was reported by The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System that 100 gear-up landing incidents occurred between 1998 and 2003. These types of incidents can result in a “belly landing,” which is what was performed at the Los Angeles International Airport, but there have been some landings that ended with injuries or fatalities.
In 2010, one United Express flight traveling to Macdonald-Cartier Airport in Ottawa from Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia experienced an issue with its landing gear that left passengers injured. The landing gear appeared to have collapsed, and in combination with the wet runway, there was difficulty landing. The plane finally came to a stop about 150-meters off the runway. The incident left the two pilots and one passenger injured, but the other 33 passengers experienced no injuries.
The reason for the landing gear malfunction on Flight 5316 is unknown at the moment. The plan is to inspect the plane to determine the cause of the issue. Hopefully, it will be found if whether or not it was only this particular plane’s landing gear that had issues or if this is an issue with all landing gears for this particular model of plane.