You can read the description of “Joe’s” little misadventure here. If you recall, he took a short break after everything had come to a rest and the dust had settled.
Any landing you can walk away from…
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
Some days, you actually earn your pay.
Filed under Airplanes, Flying
My hat’s off to Joe. Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets………well, maybe another time.
Reminds me of one of many memorable experiences in the T-28.
As an instructor in the night flying operations, one of my responsibilities was to train experienced instructor pilots (IUT’s) in the different demands of the night flying syllabus. The student curriculum consisted of four flights. The first flight was a dual flight (student with instructor) which introduced the student to the night environment and was a check flight to make sure the stud was safe for solo flight at night. Night flying was the last stage of training before moving on to multi-engine advanced flight training and so the students were pretty competent by the time they reached this stage. The second flight was a solo flight in a loose night formation with other student solos. The third and fourth flights were night cross country flights where all the students flew a loose, in trail formation using visual navigation on a route around South Texas. Any time there were solos in the air, instructors were required to be airborne as chase aircraft (Nite CAP) to herd them around and keep them out of trouble. Sometimes there were as many as 8-10 solo aircraft and usually there were only two chase aircraft so we stayed pretty busy trying to keep them from getting lost, running into each other and being available to join up on them in case of mechanical problems.
On this particular night I was breaking in a new instructor as we chased solos around and finally got them all on the ground safely. Usually after the studs are on the ground the two chase aircraft would join up for some proficiency training in night formation and emergency procedures. Actually it was our chance to have some fun. We joined up on the other chase plane to practice some precautionary engine out landings (PPEL) in section over home field. The procedure required us to fly formation on the lead aircraft as he maneuvered through the deadstick pattern to effect a safe landing in case the engine quit. It required hitting the initial position (high key) over the end of the runway at 2500 ft power off and starting a continuous gliding turn to hit the low key position which was about 1800 ft one wingtip distance abeam the intended point of landing, followed by the 90 degree position about 900 ft, then rolling out on a short final at 150-200 ft dropping the landing gear and flaps when landing is assured. The biggest danger is not correctly controlling the high sink rate and possible resultant hard landing.
We’d completed the first of these maneuvers continuing with a touch and go which involved resetting the rudder trim, checking the prop full forward and advancing the throttle to 48 ” manifold pressure and 2700 rpm then continuing a normal take off. Just as the aircraft lifted off the runway, the red magnetic engine sump plug warning light (chip light to you P-3 types) came on indicating metal in the oil….not a good thing. I picked up the landing gear, raised the nose to a max effort climb and raised the flaps to half flap setting while clawing my way to low key. The oil pressure was dropping rapidly along with increasing oil and cylinder head temps and the engine started shaking so bad I couldn’t read the instruments. Experience has shown that changing the power settings in this type of failure usually made things worse so I left the throttle alone. The engine was still running, albeit very roughly, and although RPM kept dropping, it was still making enough power to hopefully get us to low key. If we could make the low key position, we were fairly well assured of making the runway unless the engine totally seized and the prop stopped. In that case the airplane would take on the glide characteristics of an aerodynamic brick. There’s a saying in aviation that the most useless things are runway behind you and altitude above you. Right then, that’s about all we had. Although extra airspeed could be traded for altitude, or extra altitude could be traded for airspeed, we had neither.
Fortunately the engine held together long enough to make the runway, even though the oil pressure had been on zero since reaching the low key position, but as soon as main wheels touched down the engine seized with a loud clunk and the prop came to a sudden stop. We managed to coast the airplane off the runway and called for a tow……only slightly worse than a typical night at the bird farm. Debriefing followed at the club.
The next day, I talked to the maintenance guys to see what they had found. The master rod bearing had failed contaminating the oil system and causing the engine to eventually seize. The whole process took just about a minute and a half. After an engine and seat cushion change she was ready to fly again a day later. I gave the airplane another shot at me by flying the test flight for the new engine. …….I won.
VT-27 Night Flyers
Being an old Airtanker Driver back in my Sis-Q/MacAvia days, I was a
Co-pilot on a DC-6B. The Captain was an old Ag pilot (lots of those in the
brotherhood of the slimy red mud.) We had been operating out of Durango
with a Density altitude of oh, FL 230, #2 -this was an R2800 p&W good
engines,- was acting a bit colicky but when we ganged on the water it was
fine on takeoff and we worked out of Durango until we got sent to Grand
Junction that evening. #2 was still running a bit rough but the analyzer showed nothig scary… what I did notice that the BMEP guage on #2
had this annoying flicker…
So we are in Grand Junction. day off. Now we had a mechanic who spent most of the season trying to kill us.and he had to be cloroformed just to
ride in the aircrat he worked on! What he didn’t say was when he checked
the oil screen that there was a nice collection of part#s.gear teeth and
assorted metal.bits. We worked a couple of days there then went back to
Missoula. our home base. Now my wife and I were trying to co-orindnate
a day off-had a B&B on Flathead lake all reserved and ready.
Ok first wife stays with my mother in La Grande, Oregon. then to
Missoula for day off. wife arrives to oil smoke settling on ramp and sound of
DC6B at takeoff power going to-La Grande.
We get to La Grande and work a fire over on the Seven Devils range.
Things went well and it looked like we would be back in Missoula that PM.
Short final to LaGrande and #2 gives a sigh and proceeds to gut itself.
Now we are in LaGrande, wife in Missoula and the only alternative is to go to Santa Rosa to home and an Engine change. So three engine ferry out of La Grande(this was with the old “short” runway). To Santa Rosa.We get there and quite frankly, the mechanics we on it and replaced the Q.E.C
inside of three hours. Quick test flight and then back to Missoula.
arriving after dark . wife is sleeping at Tanker base ramp in our ford.
Think June Allyson in “Statiegic Air command.. Lots of paralllels there.
shes ready to got to the Lake .we get there at 1:00 am.
Make a record tour of Glaicer (and we have an unbroken record of
gettin snowed on in National Parks.) and back to Missoula. it is now raining
witch gave some days off. Wife went south to home Port Orford, Or.
and we went to Chester, Ca. and Redding but that is another story….
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