Federal authorities are investigating why a four-seat plane landed on its belly at Yakima Air Terminal, closing one runway for two hours Saturday afternoon.
The single-engine Mooney M20TN was landing at the airport around noon when its landing gear either failed to lower or were not lowered for landing, said Rob Peterson, airport manager.
The plane landed on its belly, and its two occupants were not injured, Peterson said.
Despite closure of one of the airport’s two runways, the accident did not disrupt operations at the airport.
Peterson could not comment further on what happened, saying the incident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Two fire trucks from the Yakima Fire Department responded to the crash, and airport crews were able to get the plane up on its landing gear and tow it off the runway. The plane’s propeller appeared damaged and part of the fuselage covering the engine area was missing.
A witness, Steve Cosner, said he had just landed with a flight instructor during a biannual flight review when he saw the Mooney approach the runway.
He said the airplane did not have its landing gear down, and he thought it might be practicing approaches, only to see it hit the runway on its underside and send pieces of metal flying.
He said there was nothing to indicate the Mooney’s pilot was having any trouble with the aircraft.
“He didn’t say anything at all on the radio, “ Cosner said. “No mayday or anything.”
The plane is registered to Timely Jan LLC of Yakima. No phone number was available for the company. FAA records show the plane was built in 2007.