Video images have emerged of the landing by a Messerschmitt Bf-109 which resulted in the historic aircraft suffering damage after groundlooping at the ILA Berlin 2008 air show.
The footage clearly shows the aircraft’s right-hand main landing-gear buckling barely two seconds after touchdown, causing the starboard wing to dip and the aircraft to leave the runway.
From the images the Bf-109 appears to complete a near-270° rotation before coming to rest. The pilot, Walter Eichhorn, was uninjured but the aircraft is understood to have suffered damage to its outer wing and propeller.
Groundlooping is a hazard particularly associated with ‘taildragger’ aircraft configurations, where the centre of gravity is located behind the front wheels.
A slight discrepancy between the aircraft’s longitudinal axis and its direction of travel can create side forces on the main-gear tyres which generate a tendency to spin if not corrected. Left unchecked, the motion is self-perpetuating.
Investigators have yet to determine the part the undercarriage collapse played in the accident sequence on 26 May 2008. The aircraft is preserved by EADS.