ESCANABA — When something goes wrong with an airplane mid–flight, the results can be catastrophic.
Luckily, the emergency landing of a single engine craft at the Delta County Airport last week — one in which the plane ended up flipping onto its roof — ended without injury. Such a situation is not a common sight for airport staff.
“We didn’t have any radio contact with him. I think he just realized he had a problem and knew he had to land and get down, and by the time I saw it, it was upside down,” said Delta County Airport Manager Kelly Smith. “It’s not something you just looked out the window and expect to see it happening.”
While the event came as a surprise, it wasn’t one the airport was unprepared for. The staff works constantly to maintain the training and know–how required when such rare events occur.
“Every time an airplane calls in that they’re going to land, you know, that’s always kind of there in the back of your mind,” said Smith. “You just have to be prepared at all times. We have our fire truck, which we run drills on to see how fast they can get to an area on the runway. We have yearly tabletops for emergency situations with all of our emergency services throughout the county, and even into the U.P. Then we also do what we call a live drill which is once every three years.”
Communication with local emergency responders, including fire fighters and medical services, is also a key part of responsiveness when disaster strikes. Officials added that they are happy about the job done by the pilot during last week’s incident.