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Air Ambulance Lands on Runway without Front Landing Gear


Last week, in Arapahoe County, Colorado, the frightening events of an otherwise routine medical transport have been circulating around the country. An air ambulance pilot was forced to resort to emergency landing procedures – during the transport of a child patient.An air ambulance was transporting the child from Cortez, Colorado to Centennial Airport, on the outskirts of Denver. Six people were on board the King Air turboprop. The transport was going well, but as the pilot prepared to land, the front wheel of the plane refused to come down. Due to some kind of malfunction, the wheel would simply not deploy.

The pilot reported to the tower that the nose gear was not responding. They were forced to make a hard landing.

The brave pilot held the front of the twin turboprop in the air for as long as he could, while the plane hurtled down the runway on just its rear wheels. The front of the plane couldn’t stay up forever, and finally he was forced to set it down, front-wheel or not.

With the propellers still spinning, the plane “skid down Runway 35L on its nose until it finally came to a stop,” said Becky O’Guin, the community relations director for Denver’s South Metro Fire and Rescue.

Image from 9News Denver, Colorado (

Out of the six people on board the air ambulance, two sustained minor injuries and were transported to the hospital as a precaution. The patient was fine, and was taken to the hospital as planned.

Soon after the landing, the plane was towed off the runway by airport crew. There was no fire from the hard landing, and the plane sustained only minimal damage. The pilot of the air ambulance is to be commended for handling the dire situation so well.

Have you ever been involved in an emergency landing? If not, how would you react in a situation like this?

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