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. Pilots At Best
Here are some examples of great AIRMANSHIP:
1) 13 Jan 1982; The crew of the Parks police Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II helicopter, N22PP, pilot Donald Usher, and crewman Melvin Windsor, who attended the crash of the Air Florida Boeing 737 N62AF, which hit the 14th Street Bridge, then falling into the Potomac River, after takeoff from Washington’s national Airport. More here
2) 24 Jun 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) 24 May 1988; Boeing 737-300, N75356, the flight encountered severe thunderstorm activity. As a result, the aircraft suffered flameout in both engines while descending through a severe thunderstorm, but the pilots made a successful deadstick landing on a grass levee adjacent to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, with no one aboard sustaining more than a few minor injuries, and with only minor hail damage to the intact aircraft. The captain of the flight was Carlos Dardano and the first officer was Dionisio Lopez. More here
4) 19 Jul 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
5) 07 Jun 1993; Amazing flying skill: Pilot Edward Wyer. 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. More here
6) 13 Aug 1993; Piper Chieftain PA-31-350, N6SF, flown by David G, Cochran, with 7 POB, ditched near Sledge Island (near Nome, Alaska). Two helicopters flew from Nome to the crash site. The two helicopter pilots, Eric Penttila of Evergreen Aviation and Walt Greaves of ERA Aviation. An amazing story of searching, locating and rescue by men and machines not equipped for the situation. More here
8) 07 Oct 2008; Capt. Kevin Sullivan QF72 A330, VH-QPA made an emergency landing at Learmonth Airport near the town of Exmouth, Western Australia following an inflight accident that included a pair of sudden, un-commanded pitch-down manoeuvres. More here
9) 15 Jan 2009; US Airways Flight 1549. Airbus A320, N106US. 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 and neither engine was able to produce sufficient thrust. Capt. Chesley 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.
10) 04 Nov 2010; Capt. Richard de Crespigny was in command of QF32 flying from Singapore to Sydney, Airbus A380, VH-OQA. At 7,400 feet during climb-out there was a catastrophic failure of an inboard Rolls-Royce engine resulting in a very rare un-contained 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
11) 15 Aug 2019: 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.
Other outstanding TRUE stories here