A 17-year-old student pilot landed safely and escaped injury early Sunday evening after her plane lost a wheel while departing Beverly Regional Airport, according to an airport official.
The pilot, who was not identified, reported the loss of the fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft’s right main wheel assembly shortly after 5 p.m., according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration. She was the only person aboard the plane.
The teen’s instructor and officials in the airport tower guided her through the procedure and technique for landing and provided support until she felt comfortable executing the landing, said Gloria Bouillon, the airport’s manager.
She landed the Piper PA28 aircraft at about 5:50 p.m., according to the FAA, after flying around in circles.
“The event went as well as it could have,” Bouillon said in a phone interview Sunday night.
Fire and police departments from Beverly and Danvers responded to the scene to assist airport officials.
The plane, which veered off the runway into grass and then a taxiway before stopping in grass, had significant damage, Bouillon said.
It was not known Sunday night what caused the wheel to come off, Bouillon said in a follow-up e-mail, adding such incidents don’t happen often.
The plane’s original destination was Portland International Jetport in Maine, according to the FAA.
Earlier Sunday, before the incident unfolded, the Beverly airport had wrapped up a two-day air show that was attended by thousands, Bouillon said. Most of the crowd, vendors, and emergency personnel had left. It was the airport’s first such air show, according to its Facebook event listing.
The plane is registered to West Side Associates LLC, in Danvers, according to FAA records.
The incident is under investigation by the FAA.
Bouillon lauded the young pilot for landing the plane.
“She did a phenomenal job in the emergency situation she was in,” she said.