An Air Force Orion that had to shut down one of its four engines mid-flight has landed at Whenuapai airbase.

The Defence Force says the RNZAF P-3K2 Orion had to shut down the engine due to a technical issue.

Fire engines were on standby for the plane's arrival at Whenuapai.

It's not yet known whether there have been any further issues.

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Earlier, a spokeswoman said: "An RNZAF P-3K2 Orion had a shutdown of one of its four engines due to a technical issue and will be landing at RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai shortly."

The flightradar24 website indicated the Orion left Whenuapai, flew roughly south as far as the ocean west of Taranaki, then turned and headed back towards Auckland.

The plane's flight path as it circled the airfield. Photo / Flightradar24
The plane's flight path as it circled the airfield. Photo / Flightradar24
The Orion earlier circled in the Hauraki Gulf to burn up fuel to reduce its weight before landing. Photo / Doug Sherring
The Orion earlier circled in the Hauraki Gulf to burn up fuel to reduce its weight before landing. Photo / Doug Sherring

The website indicates the plane is circling in the Hauraki Gulf.

An Air Force spokesman said this would be to use up fuel to reduce weight before landing.

"Normally they take off heavier than the maximum landing weight."

There have been two other reports of an Orion landing with one engine out in recent weeks.

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