The B-24 “Diamond Lil” was among three WWII aircraft on display and offering rides at the Carolinas Aviation Museum this weekend. A P-51 fighter and the last airworthy B-29 bomber in the world were also brought in by the Commemorative Air Force, the iconic Texas-based nonprofit group that restores and preserves WWII historical aircraft.
The landing gear on the B-24 suffered a malfunction during flight, causing the aircraft to skid down the runway as it landed, officials said. None of the 16 people on board was injured. W.E. Carter of Charlotte said he was on the plane when it took off around 3 p.m. Saturday for a 30-minute ride. But as the pilot prepared to land, he said, the crew realized that the landing gear wasn’t working. The plane circled for about another hour as the crew cranked the landing gear down by hand.
The News Observer reports that the pilot landed the B-24 with the main gear down and locked, but the nose gear collapsed, and the plane slid down the runway, where emergency responders were waiting. The passengers were taken off the plane quickly, Carter said.
Autumn Hicks, spokeswoman for the Commemorative Air Force, said the crew followed proper safety protocol, allowing the plane to land safely. The plane suffered minimal damage, Hicks said. Federal authorities will investigate the incident.