PORTLAND, Ore. – A Nike Inc. corporate jet carrying seven people developed landing gear problems shortly after takeoff Monday but then made a safe emergency landing after the gear was unstuck.
The Gulfstream jet touched down at 12:11 p.m. at Hillsboro airport, the same airport where it had taken off bound for Toronto around five hours earlier.
Neither Nike co-founder Phil Knight nor any sports stars were on board, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said. But a Nike official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Nike President and CEO William D. Perez was among those on board the Gulfstream V jet.
Vada Manager, a Nike spokesman, said the seven on board were three senior executives, a fourth Nike employee and three crew members. Nike is the world's largest athletic shoe and clothing company.
Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said earlier that the plane crew took steps to burn off fuel and was talking with the Gulfstream company to get advice on freeing the landing gear.
"The pilot is the ultimate authority in determining what to do with that airplane," Kenitzer said.
TV footage showed the right main wheel only about one-quarter extended, apparently blocked by the wheel door. The gear was back to normal when the plane finally landed.
As it burned off fuel, the airplane made low passes over the Hillsboro runway, briefly touching the runway with the extended left landing gear and then lifting off again, apparently to jostle the other wheel down, said Connie King, spokeswoman for the Hillsboro Fire Department.
John O'Meara, a chief test pilot at Gulfstream who helped out from the ground, said in a televised interview there was initially some difficulty keeping phone contact with the crew.
After that was solved, he said, "in following all the procedures that are already in the flight manual, we were able to talk them through that and ... they were able to get the gear down." The crew, he said, remained calm and "did a magnificent job."
Perez, 58, was named last Nov. 18 to succeed Knight as CEO. He had spent 34 years with S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., the privately held manufacturer of household products.