Pat Hatch's PhotoJournal A blog about photography & other musings…

Fire in Flight – Page 6.

Fig. 7 - Touchdown!

Fig. 7 - Touchdown! Notice the outboard section of the left wing appears to be bending down slightly as the wing is unloaded at touchdown.

As I approached the threshold, the airplane had slowed to about 130 knots, but this only made the rolling tendency to the left worse.  As I rounded out, I could no longer hold the airplane level, and we touched down in about a 10 degree left bank as seen in the photo above.  I had in full right aileron and rudder, but we were in pretty good shape, down on the left gear, so I brought both inboard engines into maximum reverse thrust and slowly reversed the aileron to now hold the right wing up as long as possible.  Britt selected emergency brakes, and I noticed I was getting some braking on the left mains.  I had pretty good control until the right wing started dragging along the ground.  After that, we were just along for the ride.  The airplane started to yaw to the right as all hell broke loose in the cockpit.  Props were snapping off, fuel in the right wing began to ignite and we bounced off the raised gravel helicopter landing pads on the right side of the runway about half-way down.  Thankfully, there were no helicopters on the ground at the time!

Fig. 7 - Right wing starting to drag along the ground

Fig. 8 - Right wing starting to drag along the ground

As the aircraft came to a stop in a cloud of dust, smoke, and fire, there was absolute silence for half a second, and then a huge explosion as the fuel from the ruptured fuel tanks ignited around the front of the aircraft.  I just remember going from extreme relief back to despair again as a wall of fire formed around the front of the airplane.

Fig. 9 - We arrived in a cloud of smoke and fire.

Fig. 9 - We arrived in a cloud of smoke and fire.

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