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Grant Dismisses Pilot As NTSB Investigates Plane Accident

Mar 2, 2017

After a Grant Aviation plane touched down in Unalaska without landing gear, officials say the pilot is no longer an employee with the airline.
Credit Courtesy of Aleutian Islands Photography

Grant Aviation says it wasn’t a mechanical problem that forced one its planes to belly flop at the Unalaska airport last month.

Beyond that, airline officials are keeping quiet about the accident’s cause -- at least for now.

“We’ve all got our theories," said Rob Kelly, Grant's chief financial officer. "But if we say something and the investigation concludes differently, that’s not a good position for us to be in.”

Although Grant is waiting on official findings from the National Transportation Safety Board, the southwest Alaska carrier has already taken action that may point toward human error.

“The pilot is no longer employed by us,” said Kelly.

That pilot was flying two passengers from Akun Island to Unalaska when the accident occurred Feb. 14. As it arrived on the island, the aircraft -- a Super King Air 200 -- touched down without landing gear.

No injuries were reported. Kelly said the plane’s engines and propellers bore the brunt of the impact.

“It looks like there may be significant damage to the engines, so we’re not sure if they’ll be able to be restored,” he said.

While Grant assesses whether the plane can be repaired, Kelly said the airline has sent a replacement and flight service is operating normally around the region.

The last time Grant recorded a crash in Unalaska was about four years ago, when a plane’s landing gear failed to deploy in strong cross winds. No one was injured, but the aircraft never flew again.

Officials say weather was not a factor in last month's accident.