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Pilot makes belly landing when gear won’t work

An experienced pilot from Fairborn who was flying a plane he had recently purchased had to make a belly-landing Tuesday afternoon at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport when the landing gear failed.

Michael Botwin, 67, wasn’t injured, but his 1994 single-engine Buesing Lowell Lancair 320 sustained damage to its propeller and belly when he landed it on Runway 24, Springfield firefighter Randy Lisch said.

The plane has been towed to a hangar at the facility and an investigator with the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating, along with the Greene Twp., Clark County-Springfield Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.

Fire crews were dispatched at about 4:57 p.m. on a report of an emergency landing at the airport, on State Route 794, according to Lisch.

Botwin was alone in the two-seater, had taken it up for a spin and was attempting to bring it in when the landing gear wouldn’t operate, said Lisch, who noted that Botwin told authorities he had recently purchased the plane.

Lisch said the plane skidded about 1,000 feet, but there was no fire or fuel leak.

According to the FAA registry, Botwin holds certificates as a transport pilot, a flight instructor and ground instructor.

He told authorities he has been flying for about 40 years, Lisch said.

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