Oklahoma Pilot Unhurt After Historic Plane's Missouri Landing Mishap

Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 11:24 am
By: News On 6


NEOSHO, Missouri --  An Oklahoma pilot says his historic airplane should be back in the air in about a month, after the landing gear collapsed while landing at a Missouri airport over the weekend.

Greg Shelton, from Collinsville, had been performing aerobatics in his 1944 FM-2 Wildcat before landing at Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport in Neosho on Saturday, March 12, 2011. 

As he set the plane down on the runway, the landing gear collapsed and the single-engine fighter skidded to stop on its belly.

Shelton told News On 6 Tuesday that he didn't want to comment on the incident, but did say the aircraft is still in Neosho and should be airworthy again in a month.

Shelton's FM-2 is a common sight in the skies near his home in Collinsville, as well as at air shows around the country.

Shelton also flies a biplane in a wing walking act, which was featured at Tulsa's air show last April. 

4/25/2010:  Related story:  Air Show Wing Walker Leaves Fears On The Ground

Designed by the Grumman Corporation as an F4F, Shelton's fighter is technically called an FM-2 because it was built under license by General Motors during World War II. 

Wildcats were used primarily by the U.S. Navy on aircraft carriers in the Pacific.  They were the frontline fighters for the Navy and Marines at the outbreak of the war.

The landing gear on the FM-2 is unique, because the pilot has to crank it up and down by hand. 

A witness told the Neosho Daily News that Shelton had made a perfect landing when the gear suddenly gave way.

Wildcats earned a reputation during the war as being very tough airplanes, able to take a lot of punishment and still bring their pilots home.