• Ratty's Ramblings - Getting Around

    Lesson Learned?

    I had an engine failure the other day. I was climbing out of Dubrovnik on my way somewhere in the A2A Constellation when suddenly there was an awful clattering from the right hand side of the plane, and the engine instruments showed something amiss with number three. By the time I got to the engineer's postion he had already pulled the mixture and shut off the fuel. I punched the feathering button and the clattering stopped.

    Ratty's Ramblings - Getting Around

    Back in the captain's seat, I put the plane into a gentle left one-eighty and headed back to the airport. In the descent, with the power reduced, there was virtually no difference in the handling of this magnificent bird. The visibility was not great, but more than adequate, and we let down into a left-hand pattern and got ready to land. I selected the first stage of flaps on downwind, and my FO responded, "Flaps one". (Yes, the crew talk to you. The passengers make noises, too, even applauding particularly smooth landings.)

    We lowered approach flaps on base, and went to full flaps on final. There was a crosswind, but a slight crab took care of that.

    As we crossed the threshhold my FO counted us down. "Forty feet - thirty - twenty - ten . . ." Then someone shouted "Hang on guys!" and while I was wondering what that meant we landed - gear up.

    In the last couple of years I've developed the habit of sneaking a quick extra look at my plane's gear lights in the final stages of the final approach. I do it as a just-in-case backup to my routine pre-landing check. Obviously, I didn't this time. I'm pretty sure I hit the switch for the undercarriage on downwind; it usually works, and the FO will tell me "Gear down", but I clearly didn't listen for that, or didn't notice that it didn't come.

    Shutting down one engine in a plane like the Connie is not much of an emergency, as emergencies go. There was no fire, no rush to get down, no compelling reason to land as soon as possible. But I still somehow managed to make the failed engine a higher priority than following my routine. Stories of situations like this are legion in aviation; the distraction of something relatively minor leading to a critical oversight and catastrophe.

    I wonder if I'll do that again.

    Homonyms Again

    Ratty's Ramblings - Getting Around - Hangar     Ratty's Ramblings - Getting Around - Hanger
    Hangar                                                                                         Hanger

    Ratty's Ramble

    Explore the island nation of Mauritius and the French island of Reunion in the Southern Indian Ocean. Start from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, FIMP, and take a quick tour of the island, then hop across to Reunion for a touch and go at Saint Pierre Pierrefonds, FMEP, and from there go north through some spectacular mountains to land at La Reunion Roland Garros Airport, FMEE.

    Ratty's Ramblings - Getting Around
    Full map at skyvector.com

    Previous Rambles


    3 Comments
    1. sfgarland's Avatar
      sfgarland -
      another Great ! and informative article . . . . . thanks again
    1. Kukailimoku's Avatar
      Kukailimoku -
      great. thanks.
    1. Jezz006's Avatar
      Jezz006 -
      Thanks for the informative article and great flight :-]
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