Handling stuck landing-gear the Chinese way

Blimey, talk about making a fuss!

DA42 belly landing.jpgIn all fairness this was clearly not a trivial situation for the poor guys involved.

As best I understand it, it’s the afternoon of 16 October and what I’m pretty confident is a Diamond DA42 with an instructor and student on board is returning to their Wuzhou Airport base. One way or another it turns out that the left main gear won’t lower. Cue a pretty impressive emergency plan…

Now I’m not absolutely clear from the text or picturejust what configuration the aircraft is in. From the pic there’s nosign of either main gear, but the nose gear looks as if it may havedeployed. Anyway, it’s decided that it would be a good idea tobasically exhaust the fuel before attempting a belly landing of somesort. So the crew (although I suspect the student’s opinion is  neitherrequested nor profferred) circles for no less than six hours to burnoff fuel, apparently deciding that a night-landing at getting on formidnight is preferable to trying the same thing in daylight but withfuel on board.

And just to be on the safe side for this light twin, the firedepartment with its 20 trucks (count ‘em), clearly thrilled at havingthe opportunity to show it knows what it’s doing, lays a foam carpet -all 50 tonnes and 3,000ft of it!

But you can’t argue with results – and the result in this case is aslightly the worse for wear DA42, and no doubt a student and instructorquite pleased to see the back of each other.

A colleague of mine on Aviation Week grabbed the opportunity to go oncombat air patrol with an Arabic pilot in an F-15 policing the Iraqno-fly zone a while back. Eight peaceful hours of racetracks later hewas fairly seriously reviewing his career choices.

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