Sunday, November 10, 2013

XH498, Near Disaster.

Anyone who is my age or older, may remember the incident with the Avro Vulcan XH498 at the opening of the new Wellington Airport in October 1959.
The Vulcan was meant to touch-and-go, but touched down heavily a little short of the runway, causing damage to the port undercarriage leg.
What could have been a disaster was avoided by the pilot applying full power immediately and getting the aircraft airborne again.
Here is the Vulcan powering away with the damage to the undercarriage obvious.
With fuel leaking, the aircraft flew to Ohakea to make an emergency landing.
The touchdown at Ohakea was near perfect, but with the Vulcan slewing off into the grass as the damaged gear collapsed under the weight.
In this picture it can be seen that the canopy has been jettisoned ready for the two crew members on the flight deck to eject which, of course, wasn't necessary.The rest of the crew would have had to make their own way out through an escape hatch in the bottom of the fuselage, which they had originally been ordered to do, but all had faith in their commander and decided to stay with the ship.
Earlier this year, retired Wing Commander Bryn Lewis, who was the navigator on that day, visited Wellington and told how he thought he, and members of the public, were going to die.
Bryn is now 88 years old.

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