Re: Reg of MD-80 UHB demo a/c?

Date:         21 Mar 97 02:43:24 
From:         nw@ix.netcom.com (Neil Wagner)
Organization: Netcom
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"Brian A. Reynolds" <bareynol@dhinternet.com> wrote:
>flight test pilot landed a bit hard.  Main gear touchdown seemed OK,
>however when the nose wheel hit one can see a ripple flow backwards then
>the empennage breaks off.

If I recall correctly, hard landings were being demonstrated for the
flight test program when this happened.  The hard landing was
intentional.  BUT, for a reason that escapes me at the moment, the
signals got crossed between the test engineers and the pilots with the
result that the plane landed about 3 times as hard as intended.  The
video I've seen clearly shows the forward fuselage buckle in downward
bending forward of the wing as the main gear hit, the empennage breaks
off at the aft pressure bulkhead, then the forward fuselage buckles
again in upward bending as the nose gear hits.  During rollout, the
fuselage again looks normal, with no trace of buckling visible.  The
pilots, being up front and away from the action, and knowing it was
going to be a hard landing, didn't know that anything had gone wrong.

I've heard the plane was flying again in just a few months, after
repairing the damage concentrated on the few locations that took the
stresses, empennage interface and forward fuselage skins that had
buckled.  There was no damage to the landing gear or its interface
with the wings -- a testimony to the ruggedness of Douglas' structural
design.

Neil - nw@ix.netcom.com