Emergency Crew Misses Emergency Landing

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Most pilots like to think they will never have to make that call for the crash truck to meet them on the runway, but we also like to think that if we ever do call, they'll be there. For Greg Stanton, of Rogers, Ark., all those hopes were dashed last Sunday when the cockpit of his Piper Saratoga filled with smoke shortly after takeoff. He declared an emergency (specifically asking for rescue vehicles) and headed back to the Rogers airport, watching the oil pressure drop. He touched down safely. On the roll-out, though, "I noticed there weren't any trucks," Stanton told The Benton County Daily Record. "I noticed the bay doors of the fire station were closed. At that point I was starting to wonder, 'Where the hell is everybody?'" Everybody, it turned out, was a crew of two in charge of staffing the airport fire station, and they were in downtown Rogers picking up a part for their ambulance. "It was a fluky incident," Fire Chief Wesley Lewis told The Record. There was also some miscommunication among the tower, the dispatcher and the emergency crew, Lewis said, and by the time it was straightened out the airplane had landed. Lewis said officials are assessing that system to see if the airport crews can instead be in touch directly with the tower.