A top U.S. Army official’s plane made an emergency landing Thursday afternoon at McConnell Air Force Base shortly after taking off.
“Shortly after take off, the aircraft carrying the acting secretary of the Army and his staff made an unscheduled landing due to a potential safety concern,” said Lt. Col. Audricia Harris, the secretary’s public affairs officer, in a statement. “Once the aircrew determined the aircraft was safe to fly, the secretary continued on with his scheduled itinerary.”
Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy was hosted in Kansas by Sen. Jerry Moran on Thursday for visits to Fort Riley and Wichita State University. The event at WSU — a tour of the university’s research facilities — ended at around 3 p.m.
At around 4:15 p.m., Sedgwick County emergency radio traffic indicated an aircraft alert was reported at McConnell. A C-37 reportedly had what was believed to be smoke coming from an engine.
According to an Air Force fact sheet, “The C-37A is a twin-engine, turbofan aircraft acquired to fill the worldwide special air missions for high-ranking government and Defense Department officials.” The plane is the military version of the Gulfstream V.
McConnell spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Stai referred to the situation as an “in-flight emergency” and said the aircraft landed safely with no injuries reported.
At WSU, McCarthy told reporters he was impressed with the university.
“We are just extraordinarily impressed and have actually executed about an $18-$20 million contract to do prototype work on the campus to study applied materials that we can potentially put on everything from our vehicles to our weapons systems,” he said. “What makes it also extraordinarily unique about this campus is not only do you have the intellectual capital to do the basic and applied research, but you can also do integration work and test prototypes right here in the facility.”
Research on additive manufacturing, which is also known as 3D printing, also caught McCarthy’s attention. He said the manufacturing method “is really the key for us to become a leaner and faster organization in the future.”