Decision making, airmanship and maybe a little luck led to the best possible outcome for a pilot and passenger at an airport in Sydney, Australia. The Cessna 210 had just taken off from Bankstown Airport in Sydney’s southwest corner when it had engine problems. The pilot, Johannes Swanepoel, elected to make the turn back to the airport but he left the mostly-retracted gear up and that might have made the difference. A News 7 helicopter happened to be in the area, heard the Mayday over the radio and managed to video the whole thing from above.

The prop appears to be turning as the 210 drops low over a residential area before barely clearing some hangars and scraping along a taxiway. Neither Swanepoel nor his passenger, identified only as Karin, were hurt. The plane will need some work but it may be reusable. Swanepoel said in an off-camera interview that the plane did brush trees and he wasn’t sure they were going to clear the hangars.

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