An air taxi with four people on board was forced to make an emergency landing at the Dillingham airport when its front landing gear failed to move down.
The Grant Aviation airplane landed with minimal damage Monday morning and no one was hurt, according to Alaska State Troopers.
The twin-engine Piper Navajo was on scheduled Flight 441 from Dillingham to Togiak, said Clint Johnson, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board in Anchorage.
As the airplane approached Togiak, 67 miles west of Dillingham, the pilot detected a mechanical problem.
"The nose gear did not extend," Johnson said.
Rather than try to land at the fishing village of 842 residents, the pilot turned around and headed back to Dillingham.
The pilot circled the southwest Alaska city for about an hour to burn fuel, Johnson said, and then made the emergency landing with the front landing gear retracted at 10:55 a.m.
State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said by email the pilot touched down on the two rear main landing gears. The pilot kept the nose up until the plane had slowed significantly, Peters said.
The nose dropped to the ground and the plane skidded, she said.
Emergency medical responders were on hand in case of a crash. Troopers said the responders checked passengers but reported no injuries.
The airplane was moved off the runway into a hangar. Johnson said he will assess damage and investigate to find out why the front landing gear did not move into place.
Dillingham is a community of nearly 2,400 on northern Bristol Bay about 327 miles southwest of Anchorage.