Love was in the air for one Florida pilot, who kissed the tarmac after safely landing a small airplane with landing gear troubles.
The man was an instructor for Wayman Aviation and was giving a lesson to a commercial pilot training to become an instructor.
Citing company policy, flight school officials declined to release the pilots’ names, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The two men were more than thrilled to be back and unharmed on terra firma around 9 a.m. at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines, after the nose gear of their Piper PA-28 collapsed on the runway.
The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation into the incident.
Eddy Luy, vice president of the flight school, told the Sentinel that the pilot of the single-engine aircraft is a master certified flight instructor who has worked for Wayman Aviation for over five years.
“They were having trouble with the nose landing gear, which they reported to the tower. They did a fantastic job, all the way into the landing,” Luy said. “It was a nice, safe, controlled emergency landing. Everyone is safe and unharmed.”
“This is exactly what training is for, 90 percent is for emergency procedures, the ‘what ifs,’” he added. He further divulged that the incident “appears to be a mechanical failure, but it’s still under investigation.
“The plane has been with us a long time, we know it thoroughly. You fly enough hours, eventually something is going to happen,” Luy added.
In footage captured by WSVN-Ch. 7 of the dramatic landing, the passenger shields his face with his hands as the plane floats to a stop. Throwing their flight bags out of the plane and safely jogging away, the pilot raises his baseball cap in a salute to the disabled plane before dropping to his knees and kissing the ground.
Pembroke Pines police confirmed to the Sentinel that fire trucks arrived on the scene, but the plane did not catch on fire.
He said the Piper “absolutely was recently serviced,” but he didn’t have the date at hand.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report, this is the second time in eight months that this Piper plane has made an emergency landing during a Wayman Aviation flight lesson. In July 2017, the plane’s engine lost power and the pilot was forced to land in the Everglades, with the instructor and student fortunately walking away unharmed as well.
However, Luy said that that incident did not involve the same problematic landing gear that led to the March 29 emergency landing, adding that the plane had been repaired after the 2017 incident.
“We put it back in service. Our school is very well known for doing a high level of maintenance, good quality maintenance," he said.