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Private Jet Returns Safely to County Airport After Engine Trouble

One engine had to be shut down 10 minutes after takeoff, county officials say.

A Nebraska-bound private jet carrying seven people landed safely at Westchester County Airport this afternoon after experiencing engine trouble.

The pilot of the Learjet 55 aircraft reported a problem with one of the plane's two engines at 3:10 p.m.—about 10 minutes after taking off from the county airport, said Westchester County Police spokesperson Kieran O'Leary.

After deciding to shut down the troubled engine, the pilot was directed to burn off fuel over Stewart Airport in Newburgh before returning to Westchester for landing, officials say.

"He was very approximate to an airport if it became necessary to bring it down," O'Leary said, adding that burning off fuel is a common practice whenever possible before landing an aircraft fueled for a longer flight.

Firefighters from Purchase, Armonk and Port Chester, Westchester County Police, Westchester County Department of Emergency Sevices and EMS crews were waiting along the runway as a precaution.

The jet landed safely at 4:02 p.m.

Operations at the airport continued through the landing and are currently normal, according to county officials.

The plane, which O'Leary said was designed to land with only one engine, had no further problems during its return to the airport. The seven people on board, five passengers and two crewmembers, weren't injured.

O'Leary said other planes have returned to the runway after experiencing minor problems during takeoff at the county airport this year. In April, a commercial jet carrying 54 passengers from Westchester County Airport after striking a bird.

"It's not that it happens a lot, but I wouldn't call it an unusual incident," he said.

Jim September 11, 2012 at 11:08 PM
It's very fortunate the plane had a backup engine. Unfortunately some years ago , my brother piloted a single engine aircraft, which crashed killing both him and our mother. I guess statistically in regard to the number of accidents per mile traveled in an aircraft compared to an car is less, aircraft accidents are most of the time fatal.
Zach Oliva (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 12:50 AM
I'm sorry to hear about that Jim.
George Datino September 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM
A question to anyone who might know the answer, why would the plane return to Westchester when it was already near Stewart? Simply, after burning off the required amount of fuel, why risk an incident with only 1 engine when a perfectly good airport was right there for landing?
George in NY September 12, 2012 at 10:42 AM
George, I guess on my part based upon my fathers employment long,long, ago in a private aviation hangar at Westchester. I would think Westchester would be the preferred airport to facilitate repairs as it caters to such aircraft. It may well be the housing location of the aircraft. I would also imagine that landing at either would be about the same unless the remaining engine developed a problem. The as the crow flies distance between the two airports is probably negligible with an operating engine.
George Datino September 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Thanks for your response George. I just gathered from the article that the plane was closer to Stewart and if there was enough concern to have emergency aparatus standing by on the runway for the landing, that there was enough concern that the safety of the occupants of the plane and the population below would be the top priority and getting the plane down expediently would have been landing at Stewart instead of making the trip back to Westchester.
JJ September 12, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I have always enjoyed the convince of the Westchester Airport but this "highlights" once again my concerns for the residents, school etc. surrounding the area. I have no beef with the airport but why would people want to build structures in the flight paths of AC? Somewhere down in VA Beach there's an issue with a military base where the neighborhoods have grown exponentially around the base. There was a recent accident where with a fighter jet crashed and Thank God no one was injured or killed but it "highlights" once again proper planning. I'm happy everyone on this AC is safe. Well written article.
JJ September 12, 2012 at 05:22 PM
SORRY That should have read "convenience" vice "convince".
Linda Turturino September 12, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I have raised this concern for Rye Brook, Greenwich and Port Chester are they prepared if a plane would come down my house is in a direct flight path and really have a true concern. But never got any answers ......
JJ September 13, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Linda, The "answer" is most likely NO............ Otherwise you'd be able to see an Emergency Operations Plan or Memorandum of agreement between these communities. It's like everything else ; they'll wait UNTIL it occurs. Otherwise there's probably some half a$$ plan in place that doesn't address specific issues like evacuation routes, response protocols, FAA coordination, drills, table top exercises etc.
Francis T McVetty September 13, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Come on folks, when you buy a house you look at the neighborhood, don't you? An airport is not that hard to find. If you do buy a house by an airport why do you then complain about the noise and air traffic? I can see if you live in a house for a while and then someone decides to build an airport, then you have a right to complain. It seems to me that many who live in Ct and complain about the airport are the same ones using it for their convenience.

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