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    Single Engine Plane Takes Off From LB Airport, Forced To Return, Landing Gear & Communications Don't Work, Makes Skidding Landing; No Injuries; Closes Main Runway 30/12 For About 2 1/2 Hrs Sending Large Jets Onto Runway 25R

    (July 27, 2003) -- LBFD reports that shortly before noon today, a single engine plane taking off for a Sunday morning flight to Oxnard ran into some kind of trouble requiring a quick return...which ended in a skidding landing that closed LB Airport main runway for about two and a half hours.

    Details are sketchy as we post. LBFD Public Information Officer Capt. Scott Clegg says it appears the landing gear wouldn't come down, the plane's communications were out...and the pilot flew by the tower to try and signal, then made a skidding landing.

    Plane skid July 28/03
    Photo: Steve Lewis, LBFD

    LBFD responded within thirty seconds at 11:52 a.m. Fortunately, the pilot, a 63 year old man, was uninjured and was able to get out of the plane on his own.

    Unfortunately, the plane wasn't able to get off the runway on its own. LB Airport's main runway 30/12 was closed for about two and a half hours, diverting large commercial aircraft onto runway 25R, while fighters used a crane and fire dept airbags to lift the plane and manually lower the landing gear to tow off it off the runway.

    Damage to the $200,000 aircraft was estimated at about $50,000.

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