Sunderland landing

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Sunderland landing

Postby flyernzl » Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:19 am

Yes I do mean landing - not alighting.

Wellington Airport opening 25Oct1959, RNZAF Sunderland NZ4113/M ex PP124.
The boat was repaired and continued to serve until 1967.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu2qxgtFvW8
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Re: Sunderland landing

Postby empty41 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:09 pm

Very interesting to see this film clip, I was there this day and my memory is 180 degrees out as I always recall it came in from Evans bay end, this film shows it came in from Cook straight end, I was at the airport fire station so had a ring side seat, actually we were standing right in front of the fire tenders and the point of contact was not far from us, you could see the ground clearance diminish till contact was made.
The pilot had adequate clearance at the time he came over the threshold , but I presume he was not aware that the runway slopes up to the middle from each end, we could only watch in amazement as we saw the clearance disappear till she made contact, this as you can see in the film drained the bilge and it staggered back into the sky, the plane then did several passes over the control tower to allow the controllers to give them a report and it was then announced that the aircraft was returning direct to Hobsonvile.

Mention is also made as to the Vulcan episode, the Vulcan made several touch and goes, it had done the same in the days preceding the airshow, on the day of the opening having done a couple of T and Gs it was announced over the PA system that the Captain had said he was going to try and land, he came in over the Moa Point end or Southern end of the runway and as he was close to touch down and trying to maximize the full runway his port undercarriage hit the slope of the end embankment, this smashed the port leg back into the underside of the wing.
In that we were standing in front of the fire tenders, I took of running north to get out of the way and when I looked back the Vulcan was climbing out with full power employed and what I have always presumed was Hydraulic fuel pouring out of the damaged leg, the leg was what appeared to be about 45 degrees past the vertical towards the rear.
My first reaction when I saw the hit was that the aircraft would cartwheel and there was packed grandstands on the port side of the runway in the direction the plane was going in, my memory is vivid that the wing was only just off the ground at the extreme port side, the captain did a magic piece of flying to get it back up and not cause a major disaster, he then flew the Vulcan to Ohakea airbase and did a fine landing on one main and nose wheel, as the plane lost speed it swung to the port and onto the grass and came to rest.
Footnote here, they brought a team out from the UK and repaired the Vulcan and flew it back to the UK, it crashed on landing in London and I believe the aircrew were all killed. I went back to work on Wellington airport in the late 60s as an aircraft engineer and the impact marks were still eveident in the embankment even then, the runway has been extended now at that end so the indentatrions are now well buried.
Wellinton airport is renowned for the laminer flow effect along the strip, saw a good number of various aircraft get caught up and struggle to get down on the runway,always an interesting place to work
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