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Pilot walks away from crash landing

A pilot was forced to make a crash landing after his plane's landing gear jammed.

The man was forced to circle above Headcorn Aerodrome for about 25 minutes while fire officers from both the aerodrome and Kent Fire and Rescue prepared the area for an emergency landing.

Crews from Maidstone and Ashford were among those who rushed to the airfield at around 7pm last night.

The pilot, who is said to be a very experienced acrobatic flyer in his 40s who lives close to the airfield, eventually bought his Yak45 plane down from the North side of the site.

Watch Manager Mike Gay, the officer in charge at the scene, said the pilot turned off his engine and fuel as he came in to land.

He said: "He had the cockpit open and we were racing alongside him with breathing apparatus ready in case we had to do a snatch rescue."

As the plane landed its propeller shattered and it travelled around 150 meters into the long grass before coming to a standstill.

Watch manager Gay said the pilot had quickly jumped from the plane and to safety.

He said: "He did an amazing job. I had to shake his hand."

Aerodrome owner Jamie Freeman said he was pleased with how smoothly the situation had been handled.

He said: "We had everything in place so if there had been a problem we could have dealt with it very quickly."

Mr Freeman said the pilot was due to take part in the Headcorn Flying Proms on Saturday, August 23.

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