An Eclipse 500 (N168TT, shown here in 2007), most likely piloted by its owner, a Mr. James Teng of Singapore, was badly damaged during a landing attempt in Nome, Alaska in 1 June.
Teng and one other person on board were not injured, but the Eclipse 500, though not visually that bad on the exterior, had suffered a broken centre-wing carry through box, NTSB investigator in charge, Chris Shaver, told me.
Based on a phone call to the pilot, Shaver determined that he had touched down on the runway in Nome on his way to the US after a stop in Russia, only to find that he had forgotten to extend the landing gear. Rather than creating all that sparking and noise, he apparently decided to go around and try again. On the second attempt, with landing gear deployed, it went fine, though the damage had been done.
Perhaps it’s a testament to both his flying skills and the solidness of the Eclipse 500 that Teng was able to go-around. We’ll know more when Shaver gets the results of the various data recorders on board that have been downloaded. Meanwhile, Teng was headed back to Singapore by other means. Not sure what it will take to fix the bird.
Teng was no stranger to that route. According to former Eclipse Aviation executive Dottie Hall, he made the trip often.
On her blog, “On the Dot”, Hall says Teng was one of 200 customers who placed their order for an Eclipse on the very first day – May 26, 2000. She says he took delivery in September 2007, having stuck with the company through thick and thin. He’s pictured below receiving his keys from Eclipse founder and visionary, Vern Raburn in 2007.
“James and his wife Irene have been among the most stalwart supporters of Eclipse,” says Hall in a 11 September 2007 posting on the blog. “While I was with the company, they flew in from Singapore for every significant event and we saw more of them than we saw of many of our domestic customers.”
Teng made regional trips as well, according to the web, heading over to Phuket in January this year for a very interesting event – the Phuket Bikini Airshow. Wonder if Irene went along on that one…