JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A WWII bomber participating in an aviation exhibition at Cecil Airport safely landed Saturday after experiencing landing gear issues in flight, officials said.
The B-24 Liberator reportedly had issues lowering its nose gear and was forced to circle the airport for over an hour while sorting out the issue, according to airport officials.
Airport officials said they were notified about 9:58 a.m. The bomber was carrying two crew members and five passengers. The flight was offered to exhibition visitors as part of the show.
Officials said the bomber landed safely about 11:35 a.m. The B-24 is equipped with a manual crank to lower landing gear in case of hydraulic failures.
The pilots circled the airport to burn fuel in case they were unable to lower the landing gear. In the instance that the gear couldn't be lowered, the pilots would have performed an emergency landing in the grass next to the runway.
News4Jax spoke to passenger Heather Graves, who said she was nervous because of the pilots' demeanor.
"At first, we realized something was going on, but didn’t get nervous because you knew that the pilots knew what they were doing," Graves said. "Once you realized they we're going to fly around and burn off gas, you got extra time in the air, you knew it was awesome."
Officials with the exhibition said they are working to get rides for people who want to still ride the aircraft.
The B-24 was flown in Friday by the Collins Foundation to support the living history event. The aircraft is billed as the last flying B-24 in the world. All others are on display at museums.
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