Man safely lands single engine plane after losing a wheel

LEWISTON, ID - The pilot of a plane that lost one of its tires during take off from the Idaho County Airport landed his aircraft safely Tuesday afternoon.

Duane Reetz, 57, of Clintonville Wisconsin, safely landed his single engine plane at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport around 2:15 p.m. He said moments after he took off from the runway, air traffic control informed him the tire from his plane had fallen off. Reetz told KLEW News he spent just under two hours flying back and forth between the airport in Lewiston and the Idaho County Airport, burning nearly 200 pounds of fuel before landing his damaged plane.

"You keep flying the airplane, the airplane flies just fine without a wheel on it," said Reetz. " I just did the best I could to land it as slow as I could and keep that landing gear off the ground as long as possible."

Reetz was able to balance the plane on the right front wheel and tail dragger in the rear of the plane once he hit the runway. However, in the last few seconds, the plane became unbalanced as the left side that was missing a wheel scraped the tarmac, which resulted in a nose dive into the runway. Reetz has been flying for 34 years and walked away from the crash without a scratch.