Mainland Air: Engine cuts out mid-flight on passenger plane

The regular Mainland Air flight between Invercargill and Dunedin yesterday was anything but routine for pilot Phil Kean, after one of the engines stopped -in flight.

Kean, who owns and operates the airline, had to nurse the Piper Chieftain, with him and eight passengers on board, 32km to Dunedin Airport for an emergency landing.

“We were above Clinton, travelling at about 5000 feet, and the right engine just stopped,” Kean said.

“The drills we do just kicked into place.

“It’s something we train for all the time, and we just kept flying on one engine.”

The passengers were assured by Kean that he had everything under control.

Emergency services were scrambled to Dunedin Airport to await the arrival of the plane, which touched down safely just after 5.30pm.

Ironically, the landing was the most ordinary part of the incident.

“It was one of my best landings ever, very smooth … but I was very pleased to get the wheels down on the ground,” Kean said.

“I have done years of training other people how to fly planes, and what I taught them just came out automatically and flawlessly.”

Kean believed the cause of the engine failure was likely an internal fault.

“It’s just one of those things which happens sometimes with engines.

“It might go for another 10 years now without a problem,” he said.

“We don’t want to go through this every day, but we’re lucky that the aircraft can do this [fly on one engine].”

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