Friday, May 29, 2009

C182 performs wheeler landing at Canberra airport

I was in Canberra recently and came across this article on the front page of the local Canberra Times:

The nose wheel of a Cessna 182 fell off in flight, the pilot didn't notice and obviously was in for a little surprise on landing when he lowered what he thought was the nose wheel onto the runway at Canberra International Airport. The pilot was unharmed, the runway was closed for a little while and the ATSB is not investigating the incident.

This may sound odd at first, but when you look at their prioritization guidelines you understand why: no-one died or even got hurt and this was a private flight (priority level 6 out of 7, only above "High risk personal recreation/sports aviation/experimental aircraft operations"). In addition, and that's only my own uneducated guess, there is probably very little to be learned from this freak incident that would improve safety. Unless 182s around the world start loosing nose wheels in flight, investigating why this happened is not worth it.

The article goes on to say:

''[The pilot] said it was a very crunchy landing, but that he didn't know until he got out of the plane that he had lost the wheel,'' Ms Davy said.

This may sound funny, but is actually perfectly logical. There's no way the pilot can tell that the nose wheel fell in flight. The wheel just fell, and the pilot cannot see the front wheel from the cockpit anyway. Losing the nose wheel may reduce drag a little, but nothing noticeable through either the controls or the airspeed indicator.

On landing the noise of the nose wheel fork ploughing the runway must indeed have been very "crunchy", and the nose-down attitude surely indicated that something had gone wrong.

I just love the fact that the pilot went to the turf farm a week or so later to collect the missing wheel. Goes to show you never know where aviation might take you.

1 comment:

Chad said...

That's embarrasing for the mechanic who did the inspection last. He must have forgot to cotter pin it.