Re: Emergency landing on water ?

Date:         27 Dec 96 13:32:22 
From:         faurecm@halcyon.com (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
References:   1 2 3
Followups:    1 2
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In article <airliners.1996.2863@ohare.Chicago.COM>, cat@clinet.fi (Patrik
Andersin) wrote:

> In article <airliners.1996.2662@ohare.Chicago.COM>,
> faurecm@halcyon.com (C. Marin Faure) writes:
>
> >  The 767, like all ETOPS aircraft, have Ram Air Turbines (RATs) that extend
> >  automatically from the belly of the plane into the slipstream if all
> >  normal sources of hydraulic and/or electrical power are lost (the pilots
> >  can deploy them, too.)  These "propeller-on-a-stick" devices provide
> >  sufficient power to  operate the necessary flight controls to safely
> >  maneuver the plane in the event of a hydraulic and/or electical loss,
> >  which you would certainly have if the plane ran out of fuel and all the
> >  engines (and APU) have shut down.  This is what allowed the flight crew of
> >  the Air Canada 767 that ran dry to make a "normal" descent, approach, and
> >  touchdown at Gimli back in the early 1980s.  They had full control all the
> >  way down, extended the gear, and had wheelbrakes, although without reverse
> >  thrust the landing roll was extremely long.
>
> Well, not quite right... An article in comp.risks 10.13 by Robert
> Dorsett says that ram air turbine serviced only the basic flight
> controls, but did not provide power for other surfaces, such as flaps.
> Radios and backup instrumentation was supplied initially by APU, later
> by battery power. The nose gear collapsed and the nose acted as very
> efficient speed brake.

Actually, this is wrong.  The nosegear did not collapse during the
rollout.  One end of Gimli field was used by a sports car club for road
rallys.  On the day the 767 landed there was an event taking place on the
car track.  The track was bordered by concrete Jersey barriers or some
other form of barrier fence.  Because the 767 had no thrust reversers and
minimal braking, the landing rollout took it all the way to the car track
where it ran into one of these barriers just as it came to a stop.  The
nose never even hit the ground, but sat down on top of the barrier.  I
remember seeing photos of this here at Boeing shortly after the incident.
We sent an AOG team up there right away, and when they jacked the plane
up, they found the nose gear was relatively undamaged.  It took only a
short time to fix it and the plane was flown out within a couple of days.
I remember all this was reported in the Boeing News a week or so after the
incident.  I don't know where the "skidding down the runway on its nose
with fire shooting out of things" idea started, maybe with the TV movie or
the book, but the reality of the situation was the damage was very slight
and the nosewheel did not collapse until it hit the race track barrier, by
which time the plane was barely moving.

C. Marin Faure
   author, Flying a Floatplane