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This item originally appeared in the May 13, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


News Editor

The aviation department had a scare Monday afternoon when a university plane belly-landed at Ruston Regional Airport.

Senior instructor Darrell Guy and junior professional aviation major Joshua Leyser, who has his pilot's license and is working on his commercial and instrument rating, were flying the Cessna 172 when it slid onto the pavement without any landing gear down.

"No one was hurt in the incident," Dale Sistrunk, department head and a professor of professional aviation, said. "The cause has not been fully determined yet. We don't know if they didn't put it down or it was a mechanical error."

Sistrunk said the plane would be placed on jacks and cycled through to see if the landing gear properly functions.

"The Cessna 172 is an RG, which means it has retractable gear. Our other planes' landing gears do not move," Sistrunk said. "We only have three with retractable gear to give students training in putting the gear down."

Sistrunk said he estimates the cost for the damage to the plane will cost $25,000, which will be covered by state insurance.

"We have plenty of insurance to cover expenses," Sistrunk said. "Most of it will go to pulling the engine down and looking over it for damages."

The Cessna 172 incident should not be a problem for other students, Sistrunk said.

"We will determine what this problem is and see what needs to be done."

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