Vero Beach pilot Taras Rud lands rear-engined 2010 Velocity plane on its belly in Key West

KEY WEST, Fla. — A 37-year-old Vero Beach pilot safely landed a kit-built aircraft on its belly when the plane's landing gear failed to lower Sunday afternoon at Key West International Airport.

Besides pilot Taras Rud, passengers were Olena Mikhnyk of Vero Beach, her 3-year-old daughter and Annette Rene-Danigelis of Muskegon, Mich., according to a news release from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. No injuries were reported.

The airport's runway was closed from 1:03 to 1:45 p.m. Sunday as the plane, a silver, rear-engined 2010 Velocity, was removed, according to Becky Herrin, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

Rud could not be reached for comment.

Rud is a "team member" at Sebastian-based V-Raptor Aircraft LLC, according to the company's website. In 2010 the Sebastian City Council approved a lease agreement with V-Raptor to use a hangar being built at the municipal airport to help customers put together a four-seat, kit-built aircraft called the Orion.

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