From Hero To Zero
This is the TRUE story of Capt. Rod Lovell and the successful ditching of DC-3, VH-EDC into Botany Bay (Sydney, Australia) on 24th April 1994.

A recap of the story courtesy on Weekend Sunrise


   Home      Great examples of Airmanship

There is an old saying in aviation. 

Pilots are not paid for what they do. 

They are paid for what they can do!

Sometimes a pilot calls on all his aviation experience to convert a potentially dangerous situation into a successful outcome.

Sometimes this consists may mean putting"the book" aside as no book (operations manual) can cater for all emergencies.

Sometimes, time (as in my case of 46 seconds from engine failure until in the water) is against us.


Here are some example of great AIRMANSHIP:
1) 13 January 1982; The crew of the Parks police chopper pilot Donald Usher, and crewman Windsor, who attended the crash of the Air Florida Boeing 737 N62AF, which hit the Rochambeau Road Bridge, then falling into the Potomac River, after takeoff from Washington's national Airport. More here

2) 24 June 1982; Capt. Eric Moody in command of British Airways Boeing 747, G-BDXH, cruising at Flight Level 370 (37,000 feet) when all four engines flamed out. "In the space of minutes, the status of the Boeing 747 had been transformed from that of a fully functioning, highly efficient giant airliner, operating a normal, routine international flight, into that of an unpowered 250 tonne glider - with nowhere to descend but into the sea, invisible in the darkness of the tropical night, 37,000 feet below." More here

3) 19 July 1989; United Airlines DC-10 N1819U, cruising at 37,000 feet under the command of Captain Alfred Haynes. In the cabin Capt Dennis Fitch who was in fact a DC-10 check and training pilot. Sioux Gateway Airport. More here

4) 07 June 1993; Amazing flying skill: Piper Navajo G-BMGH. Aircraft Accident Report 6/94, published by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the Department of Transport, United Kingdom. Piper PA-31-325 C/R Navajo, G-BMGH 4 nm south east of King's Lynn, Norfolk on 7 June 1993. 
"The aircraft was operating on a scheduled passenger flight from Birmingham to Norwich, with a pilot and seven passengers on board when, as the flight passed south of King's Lynn, there was a loud 'bang' and the aircraft immediately rolled to the right and entered a tight spiral dive, or spin. The loud bang was caused by a blade, that had detached from the right propeller, penetrating the aircraft's nose baggage bay and exiting through the upper left fuselage structure. This blade then struck and removed the front of the left propeller assembly. The right engine tore away from the wing, precipitating the loss of control, and the left engine stopped. The commander managed to regain control of the aircraft and successfully carried out a forced landing in a field of cereal crop. All eight occupants evacuated the aircraft with no serious injury."

5) 01 Jun 95; Nimrod R1P, Serial No. XW666, ditched off RAF Kinloss (no casualties) following a major engine fire during a test flight after a Major overhaul. The Pilot, Flight Lieutenant Art Stacey, was exceptionally skilful in his handling of this very unpleasant emergency, and succeeded in ditching the aircraft thus allowing the crew to escape. He was awarded the AFC for his actions.

6) 15 January 2009; US Airways Flight 1549. The airplane lost engine power, after hitting a flock of Canada Geese during climb-out at approximately 2800ft AGL and 200 Nautical Miles Per Hour. Each of the two engines ingested at least two Canadian Geese (avg weight between 7-10lbs.) and neither engine was able to produce sufficient thrust. Capt. Sullenburger was able to ditch the aircraft in the Hudson River, resulting in the survival of all on board. He had 208 seconds from engine failure until ditching.

7) 04 Nov 10:  Capt. de Crespigny was in command of QF32 flying from Singapore to Sydney.  At 7,400 feet during climb-out there was a catastrophic failure of an inboard Rolls-Royce engine resulting in a very rare uncontained explosion. Shrapnel flew out at supersonic speed crippling control systems running along the Q380’s left wing leading edge, peppering the fuselage, invading the underbelly, puncturing two wing fuel tanks in at least ten locations and wreaking havoc with 21 of the 22 aircraft’s systems. More here

8) 15 Aug 19: Capt. Damir Yusupov. Ural Airlines Flight 178, an Airbus A321-211, registration VQ-BOZ, was substantially damaged when it force landed to a cornfield shortly after takeoff due to a dual bird strike and engine failure. The aircraft with 233 POB, was in the initial climb through 750 feet out of Zkukovsky's runway 12 when the aircraft flew through a flock of seagulls and ingested birds into both engines (CFM56). Both engines lost power forcing the crew to stop the climb at 750 feet and land the aircraft in a corn field about 2-3nm past the runway with gear retracted.  More here.

Some of the above mentioned aviators received the Polaris Award



There are obviously many more events where the pilot in command has through knowledge and experience, converted a possible dangerous situation into a very successful outcome. Most of the time the public do not hear of these as they are not newsworthy.