A pilot was forced to perform an emergency landing at Blackpool Airport after his plane suffered mechanical issues in the skies over Lancashire at the weekend.

By Matthew Calderbank

The light aircraft, owned by BAE Systems and operated out of its base in Warton, Preston, made the emergency landing shortly after 1pm on Saturday afternoon (February 13).

Some plane spotters watched as the dramatic scenes unfolded, with the airport’s fire crews rushing onto the main runway ahead of the stricken plane.

The plane made a rough landing, with the nose wheel collapsing as it came to a standstill on the tarmac, but the pilot – the only person on board – climbed out of the cockpit unscathed.

A plane spotter and photographer who witnessed the landing said it was “scary to watch”, but praised the pilot for the “text book emergency landing”, to the relief of those watching from the perimeter fence.

The runway was closed for around two hours whilst the aircraft was recovered.

BAE Systems said the incident has been reported to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

What led to the emergency landing and what did BAE Systems say?

Blackpool Airport said the pilot radioed Air Traffic Control at 1.05pm to request an emergency landing after experiencing “mechanical issues” in the air.

The runway was swiftly cleared and the American-made, twin-engined Piper PA44 Seminole performed its emergency landing.

A spokesman for BAE Systems said: “We can confirm a Piper Seminole light aircraft owned by BAE Systems diverted to Blackpool Airport after suffering a mechanical issue during flight on February 12.

“The aircraft performed a recommended landing in accordance with the flight manual and there were no injuries as a result of the incident.

“The Fire & Rescue Service attended the incident as a matter of procedure.

“The incident has been reported to Air Accidents Investigation Branch and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

Statement from Blackpool Airport

A spokesman for Blackpool Airport said: “At approximately 1.05pm on Friday, February 12, a PA44 requested an emergency landing at Blackpool Airport due to a suspected fault with the nose wheel.

“Upon landing, it appears that the nose wheel collapsed and the aircraft came to a standstill on the main runway.

“The Airport’s Rescue and Fire Fighting Service attended as a precaution but there were no injuries reported.

“The runway was closed whilst the aircraft was removed and reopened at 3.23pm.”