Date: 01 Jan 97 20:59:24 From: email@example.com (Mark Brader) Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, Canada References: 1 2 3 4 Followups: 1
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Patrik Andersin writes: > > 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. Marin Faure, in one of two articles saying roughly the same thing, writes: > 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. ... 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 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. "The book" that Marin refers to is presumably "Freefall" (by William and Marilyn Hoffer, St. Martin's Press, 1989, ISBN 0-312-02919-5). The relevant part of Robert Dorsett's posting to Risks was simply a review of the book, including a synopsis of its technical content. In other words, it wasn't Robert Dorsett who said the gear collapsed, but the Hoffers. However, they said it in some detail, as I'll show below. I'll include one paragraph of Robert's review, which he said was originally posted in 1989 to rec.aviation, here: | The book is partially investigative reporting, partially schlock: | while it provides a detailed accounting of the events leading up to | the eventual landing, it also wastes an enormous amount of space on | what the passengers think, feel, etc--and in that respect rather | closely resembles the style Arthur Haily used in _Airport_. In other | words, it's light reading, and tries to be something for everyone. | Fortunately, though, the authors kindly segregate the chapters into | what's happening in the cockpit, and what's happening elsewhere. If | one sticks to the "Cockpit" (clearly labelled) chapters, it's tolerable | (but since the book itself is only 263 pages of double-spaced large | print and large margins, and less than half of it deals with the | technical issues, the $17.95 price tag isn't exactly worth it). And this is exactly my opinion. The excerpts below are selected for technical content, but nevertheless show the lurid writing style. (Yes, I do have a copy -- but I picked it up for 99 cents, remaindered.) About the nose gear, then: - Page 196: On the panel in front of Quintal, two green lights indicated that both main landing gear were down and locked. But another glowed amber, warning that the nose gear was partially down but not locked. Quintal immediately knew why... the nose gear had to push forward, against the wind... - Page 201: Pearson was too busy to notice that the forward gear had not locked. He had another problem on his mind. - Page 213: Two tires blew in the right main landing gear. Careening forward at 170 knots, far faster than normal, now he had to stop the craft before it slammed into something. Pearson jammed the balls of his feet high up on the rudder pedals and pushed with his final reserve of strength to activate the brakes. The nose dropped. He anticipated the familiar thump of the forward gear touching down. Instead he heard what sounded like the explosive bang! of a 12-gauge shotgun fired at close range. The right engine nacelle scraped the ground. They were now sliding down the runway on their nose and an engine pod amid a cascade of sparks. - Page 216: Looking to their right they [two RCMP officers] saw that the jet had just touched down. Its nose hit heavily against the pavement, creating a brilliant display of sparks and flowing smoke. - Page 221: Without a nosewheel to steer the aircraft, Pearson used differential braking. ... A new image appeared, improbable and confusing. A low metal guardrail stood in the middle of the runway, set along its length. Pearson leaned heavier on the right brake. The aircraft veered only slightly, skidding. The left side of its nose glanced off the low metal fence, shearing off the round wooden posts at their bases. And the fire: - Page 229: [As soon as the plane stopped] Smoke from an unknown source now poured into the cockpit. ... [It became] so thick they could barely see and almost could not breathe. - Page 247: The Gimli Fire Department arrived and located the smoke source. Under the belly of the aircraft, insulation was burning softly, apparently ignited by the friction of the nose-down landing. Firemen extinguished this, and a gentle breeze carried off the remaining wisps of smoke. And the repairs: - Page 251: At Gimli, Aircraft 604 was repaired sufficiently to allow Air Canada's chief 767 flying instructor, Dave Walker, along with Captain Bob Clarke, to fly it to Winnipeg where it underwent further extensive repairs for more than a month. Now, this is quite a bit of detail to give if there really was no collapse before the plane came to a stop. It reads as though it was based on interviews with at least one of Pearson and Quintal, and at least one of the RCMP officers, though there are no footnotes or anything to specify the writers' sources. Therefore, I'm inclined to believe it -- unless I'm shown better evidence to the contrary. (An official report on the incident would do; I haven't read that.) -- Mark Brader "Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the firstname.lastname@example.org States, unless you count the increasing popularity SoftQuad Inc., Toronto of the 9 mm bullet." -- Dave Barry My text in this article is in the public domain.