A Stunning Twist To Gear-Up Landing

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Gear-up landings make regular appearances on the local news but not many of them involve police using a Taser gun on the volunteers who turn out to help. According to the Fresno Bee, Merced County Sheriff’s Department was called to Castle Airport in Atwater, Calif., last Thursday after a report that a Piper Arrow pilot was having trouble lowering all the gear. Of course, by the time they got there, there were lots of airport folks already discussing the situation. Maintenance technician Lupe Gonzalez apparently wanted to do more than talk. He and a group of other airport workers hatched a plan to drive a truck under the airplane as it flew down the runway so they could try and muscle the reluctant gear out of its bay. This didn’t sound like such a good idea to the police officers, and they said so. What happened next is in dispute, but it ended with Gonzalez twitching on the ground thanks to the Taser dart he’d received from one of the cops. Sheriff's spokesman Paul Barile later told the newspaper that Gonzalez had become belligerent, a charge Gonzalez denied. The tech did, however, confirm that he intended to try the risky maneuver in spite of the officer’s pointed recommendation that he not. Oh, and the Arrow? It landed on two of three legs, took some minor damage and the occupants were unhurt—which is how these things almost always end—without the help from below.