Friday, March 16, 2007

NetJets Gulfstream skids off taxiway at HPN

HPNA Gulfstream 200 Galaxy with six passengers and two crew on board skidded off a taxiway at Westchester County Airport (HPN) this morning. No one was injured.

The aircraft, operated by NetJets, had just arrived from Bermuda, according to an article about the mishap on the Journal News website. Airport manager Peter Scherer told the Journal News that the aircraft had made a safe landing, but then the pilot "missed a turn and slipped off the taxiway."
"He was taxiing over to customs and the tower asked him to expedite his taxiing," Scherer said. "He must have gotten a little disoriented and missed the turn. He slid a little too far and got stuck in the mud."
The weather was poor at HPN at the time of the incident, due to the same winter storm that disrupted commercial air travel all over the northeastern United States.
The airport suspended flights after the 9:48 a.m. incident, and reopened the runway to arrivals and departures at 1:25 p.m. Airlines had already canceled hundred of flights at New York area airports because of bad weather.

To free the stuck aircraft, two tow truck operators, using two different vehicles, wrapped straps around the aircraft's wheels and then gingerly hauled it out of the mud. Airplanes cannot back up, and their wheels have no traction, so the aircraft could not free itself, Scherer explained. It was a delicate operation because they did not want to damage the aircraft.
The flight information page on the Westchester County Airport website was showing dozens of commercial flight cancellations throughout the day.