By Jeff Todd
BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – A pilot and his trainee say they’re lucky to be alive after putting their plane down at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport without the landing gear working properly.
Davide Picard was doing training with his co-pilot. The two had gone to Greeley because of the long runway, but during the first landing attempt Picard felt a problem.
“I land on the gear, before I load put load onto it, I feel for it, and it didn’t feel right,” Picard said. “I knew right away we had a collapsed main.”
Picard tried another landing, then flew to Boulder and tried two more landings but felt the right side continue to give out.
“Then I knew I had to go to Jeffco (RMMA) and we were going to ditch this plane,” Picard said. “I knew landing in the grass if anything would be way better.”
The two flew the plane until it had just a few drops of fuel left. On the final approach the right engine ran out of fuel.
“I’m trying to just come in as slow as possible. I touchdown on the left felt it, touched again, and then boom it collapsed but see how I lifted the wing. The fuel is all in those tanks, had I scraped those, boom like a bomb,” Picard told CBS4.
“And realizing that wow this worked, it all worked,” he said.
Picard is getting his plane inspected but expects it to be totaled. He hopes the Cessna 310G is salvageable so he can rebuild the plane he’s flown in almost daily since 1982.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.