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Police helicopter pilots assisted emergency landing at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport

MESA, Ariz. — Two police helicopter pilots are being credited with helping a man safely land his small plane at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on Wednesday night.

Darren Rigsby, a pilot with the Mesa Police Department’s air unit, said he and his partner walked the troubled pilot through the proper procedures to safely land his single-engine Cessna.

“We were able to render the assistance and put this gentleman’s mind a little bit more at ease so he could get that plane on the ground and walk away,” Rigsby said.

He said it was his first time responding to such a call and he credits his flight training for the safe landing.

“He put it down on the runway and did exactly what the procedures called for and he was able to walk away from it,” Rigsby said. “He just did a great job with the whole thing.”

The small aircraft appears to have had a problem with its landing gear while attempting to land at the airport.
“At this point it appears that one of the gears was not locked,” Public Information Officer Patrick Oakley said, “so when [the pilot] did make the landing, the gear probably collapsed and he skidded to a stop.”
Oakley said there were no injuries during the landing, and only the pilot was on board the plane.
He also said local FAA agents will look at why there was a problem with the gear.

KTAR’s Mark Remillard contributed to this report.