JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- By the tone of his voice, you would never know Mar-Tech Controlcam pilot Wayne Royal's landing gear was stuck Thursday evening.
He told Action News his ability to keep his composure is the main reason he was able to walk away from a crash landing at Craig Airport.
"It was incredibly calm up there and I'm not trying to downplay the significance that it was, but getting excited and getting frazzled is really not going to accomplish anything," said Royal.
He said once his nose gear failed to deploy, he tried a series of techniques to try and loosen it, then tried to land without the front wheel.
"You start going through your mind, 'What am I going to have to do to get on the ground?' because you can't stay up there forever," he said.
After four practice approaches, Royal landed the plane at Craig, gliding the nose right down the center of the runway. The plane sustained enough damage on its nose and engine props to make it unusable, but Royal called it as successful of a crash landing as you can get.
"Any landing you can walk away from is a good one," he said.
Royal invited Action News into Mar-Tech Controlcam's hangar, where the FAA inspected the survey company's plane. They're testing the landing gear to see what may have malfunctioned, and as they conduct their investigation, Royal is already back to work.
"You can't fly around thinking about what happened yesterday," he said.
Royal had more than 70 hours in the Beechcraft plane that crashed and more than 1,900 total hours flying.
He was on his way back from Newburgh, N.Y., where he said the landing gear was working fine.
The FAA report is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.