4 unscathed after plane's landing gear collapses on Woods Cross runway

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WOODS CROSS — Four people walked away unhurt after a single-engine plane came in for a rough landing Friday afternoon at the Skypark Airport.

The landing gear of the group's Piper PA-32 collapsed when it reached the runway at the airport about 3:15 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed.

The South Davis Metro Fire Agency characterized the incident as an "emergency landing" and said there were no resulting injuries and no fire.

Zane Morris, the pilot of the plane, said he diverted his landing from Salt Lake City International Airport to Skypark after noticing he had lost battery and radio power inside the plane. The engine system was not affected.

Morris said airport manager Steve Durtschi informed him as the plane was coming in to land that the landing gear beneath the nose of the plane had not extended properly.

Morris said he re-circled the area, trying to get some airflow to naturally push the gear down without hydraulics, but to no avail.

"I knew there was a good chance it might collapse coming down," he said.

Morris, who served in the U.S. Air Force for seven years and has been flying since he was 15 years old, said he felt confident that everyone would stay safe if he kept a gentle approach to the runway. If the approach wasn't gentle, he said, "maybe it (the plane) hits really hard and it rolls or it kicks off the left or right."

Morris' friend, Michael Banks, was aboard the plane for only his second-ever ride in a single-engine aircraft. But Banks felt like he was in good hands, he said.

"(Morris) was a pro. It looks bad, but to be honest with you, it was easy, it was simple. He did a great job," Banks said. "I just know his background (so) I was like, 'let's do it.'"

The group was on its way back to northern Utah from St. George. Everyone onboard felt calm, Morris said. His teenage daughter, Maya Morris, agreed.

"We were basically laughing. The only scary part was when it tipped over," she said.


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