Graveyard slide

October 3, 2007, 9:53 AM

A cargo-configured Falcon 20 made a gear-up landing at Detroit City Airport shortly after takeoff on August 28, sliding off the end of the runway and coming to rest among the headstones of a cemetery adjacent to the airport on the city’s east side. Bound for Rockford, Ill., to drop off a load of auto parts, the Falcon 20’s crew radioed shortly after takeoff that a warning light in the cockpit indicated the airplane’s left-side cargo door was open. Rolling sharply left on its return approach, one of the Falcon’s wings struck the ground, according to eyewitnesses, but the twinjet remained airborne and overshot the runway, apparently with its landing gear not fully extended. The Falcon 20 then hit a wrought iron fence and slid into Mount Olivet Cemetery. Neither crewmember was injured, and both declined medical attention. Their employer, air-cargo operation Grand Aire Express of Swanton, Ohio, declined to release the crewmembers’ names.

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