Small plane lands without nose wheel at El Monte Airport

EL MONTE — A pilot landed a small airplane safely at El Monte Airport without a nose wheel after it dropped of mid-flight and fell onto Pioneer Park, authorities said.
The pilot and a passenger walked away with no injuries following the unusual landing, which was reported about 11 a.m. at the airport, 4233 Santa Anita Ave., according to Federal Aviation Administration and Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.
“The wheel reportedly fell off during flight and landed in Pioneer Park, about 1 mile southwest of the airport,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said. “There are no reports of ground injuries or damage.”
The pilot was initially unaware the wheel of his front landing gear had fallen from his single-engine, four-seat Diamond DA40 airplane, officials said.
But witnesses reported seeing the part fall from the aircraft and land at the park and reported it to authorities while the air was still in the air., El Monte police Lt. Ben Lowry said. Officials were able to notify the pilot over the radio of the malfunction.
The plane continued on to El Monte Airport, where despite having no front wheel, “The pilot apparently did an excellent job landing,” Lowry said. The damage was described as minimal.
The pilot, a man estimated to be in his 40s or 50s, and his passenger, whose description was unavailable, both declined medical treatment, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Ray Rodriguez said.
According to FAA records, the 2006-model airplane is registered to Mile High LLC., which has an Arcadia home listed as an address.
The FAA is investigating the incident.

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