30 Sep 2012

Pilot worried about plane during emergency landing

2:46 pm on 30 September 2012

The pilot of a replica Spitfire that made an emergency landing at Whanganui Airport says he was more worried about damage to his plane than hurting himself.

Police officers and fire crews were called to the airport on Saturday when one of the plane's landing wheels would not lower and the pilot was forced to belly-land on a grass strip.

Richmond Harding, who has been flying for about 55 years, says he was on his way to his home airstrip when he realised one of the wheels was stuck.

He says he remained calm throughout the landing - though worried about the plane. "A little bit disappointed that I might do a bit of damage to the aeroplane - but tightened up the old harness a bit just in case things didn't go as well as I hoped. But it wasn't a problem."

Mr Harding says the plane's propellor was smashed, but it could have been worse.