A World War II-era Commemorative Air Force plane made a safe landing with no injuries at San Marcos Municipal Airport Friday at about 2:36 p.m. after part of its landing gear failed to lower.
Pilot Pat McClure of San Antonio landed the T6 Texan aircraft, modified to resemble a Japanese Zero, on one wheel on the southern Runway 17.
Within minutes of the 9-1-1 call, San Marcos emergency crews were on site and in communication with the crew of the aircraft.
“Our first responders, including Fire & Rescue, Police, Fire Marshal and EMS, performed perfectly. They were here in full force well ahead of the aircraft,” said Airport Manager Scott Gallagher. Assisting in the response was Cory Taylor of Berry Aviation, the Fixed Base Operator at the airport.
The plane circled the airport for about 10 minutes before landing as emergency crews took position at the approach end and mid-field of Runway 17.
Gallagher said the pilot expertly landed the plane on the right main landing gear and held the left wing off the runway until he gently set the left wing down at slow speed, when the plane gradually spun 90 degrees left and remained on the runway.
Neither the pilot nor the backseat passenger was injured in the mishap. The WWII-era aircraft, which is based in San Marcos with the Commemorative Air Force, suffered little damage.
Gallagher commented, “There could not have been a better outcome to this emergency and I’d be putting the former Naval Aviator in for the Air Medal if we were still in the Navy. It was simply superb airmanship.”
The Commemorative Air Force maintains its Central Texas wing at the San Marcos Municipal Airport with a museum and collection of historic World War II era aircraft.
by MELISSA MILLECAM
Communications Director – City of San Marcos