SALINA, Kansas — A pilot and co-pilot who landed a small commuter plane without its landing gear at the Salina Regional Airport last week have been fired.
The SeaPort Airlines Pilatus PC-12 landed on its belly at the airport Friday. The pilot and co-pilot, whose names were not released, were the only people on board the 9-seat plane. No one was injured.
Seaport, a federally subsidized commercial air carrier, announced Wednesday the company fired the two pilots after determining the landing was caused by pilot error. Seaport president and CEO Rob McKinney said nothing was wrong with the plane and proper landing procedures were not followed, The Salina Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1ctkfNK ).
Pilots have three checklists onboard "that require them to not only move the gear into the down positions but also verify it," McKinney said.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the landing.
The PC-12 is being stored in the Salina Airport Industrial Center, in space leased to SeaPort, Salina Airport Authority spokeswoman Melissa McCoy said.
"I want to assure everyone that SeaPort pilot training is second to none. The misdeeds of two individuals don't speak to the quality of the entire pilot group at SeaPort," he said.
About 70 pilots work for SeaPort, which operates hundreds of flights a day from Alaska to Georgia and to San Diego, McKinney said, including three daily round-trip flights from Salina to Kansas City on weekdays, one on Saturdays and two on Sundays.
"We're definitely going to step up surveillance and do line checks of pilots," he said.
Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, http://www.salina.com