Emergency landing

A Chilean naval Orion aircraft shut down Blenheim Airport at Woodbourne for a short time yesterday afternoon when one of its engines failed to restart on a test run.

The plane made an emergency landing on three engines.

The Orion crew declared an emergency at 1.31pm. Blenheim airport manager Dean Heiford said the plane landed safety 15 minutes later.

Two scheduled Eagle Air flights were delayed for the emergency landing.

The P3 Orion is from the Chilean Navy and was being serviced by Woodbourne aviation engineering company Safe Air.

Safe Air general manager Heather Deacon said the plane had been through an eight-month refit and was being tested before flying back to Chile at the weekend.

Part of flight testing is to shut down the engines individually and one had failed to restart.

"There was no drama really, it's not like the engine failed. As a test they shut down one engine at a time and it just failed to restart."

The plane landed under emergency procedures and the engine was checked, Mrs Deacon said.

She expected the plane would make another test flight and keep to its scheduled return to Chile this weekend.

She was not sure how many people were on board for the test flight, "just the normal crew for the plane".

The Marlborough Express