Every once in a while things happen in aircraft that you simply couldn’t make up. This email, currently doing the rounds, appears to be authentic and the pix below back it up.
Pilots may feel that there is a certain step in the sequence of events which may have been, how can I put this, more optimally executed.
Kudos to Lockheed for building them to last.
Full story below….
Tuesday,22 Jul 2008, a P-3 Orion from VP-1 was flying an approach to NASWhidbey Island with the #1 engine in a simulated failure mode. At 160KIAS, the #2 engine started to surge, so they had to chop power to it.As all this was happening, they were still decelerating, so by the timethey added power to #3 and #4, they were at 122 knots, and in the dryterms of investigators, “departed controlled flight.” The P-3 did FIVErotations in a flat spin, dropping 5500 feet, finally recoveringbetween 50 and 200 feet AGL (above ground level), pulling a whopping 7positive G’s on the airframe after sustaining 2.4 negative G’s in thespin. The rolling pullout burst 45 rivets on one wing, physicallyRIPPED the main spar, and bent the entire airframe… the crew could seeINSIDE the fuel tanks of the wing.
The P-3C that almost went into Puget Sound waterswas from NAS Whidbey. It was a CPW-10 aircraft being operated by VP-1.Squadrons don’t own aircraft any more. The P-3 fleet has sodeteriorated because of under-funding and over-use that there are lessthan 100 still flyable*. The P-3s belong to the wing and are “lent tothe squadrons on an as-needed” basis.
The mission was aNATOPS pilot check, with a CPW-10 pilot (LT) aboard, a VP-1 LT andLTJG, plus VP-1 aircrewmen that included two flight engineers. The birdwas landed back at NASW. Max damage was sustained by the aircraft,including almost tearing off a wing. Aircraft BuNo 161331.
At Whidbey, P-3C 161331 was doing a Functional Check Flight. They could see the inside of the fuel tanks when they landed. SDRSrecorded the flaps being raised and the landing gear being cycled downand then back up. Aircraft released all the fuel in tank #3 when itappears that the seam between planks 3 and 4 split. Tank #4 also lostits fuel load when plank #1 separated from rest of the aircraft wing.