Pilot Experiences The Faulty Twin Motor in Africa

The African River
The African River came virtually to Bill Cox's runway

You could name an strategy to the runway in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, especially in case you are flying even on a modest windy day. In my case, I went to Funchal in a typical wind occasion flying to the new Cessna T303 Crusader, a medium-sized twin meant to compete with Piper's profitable Seneca. It was December 1981, and the Cessna T303 was the first cruise ship to journey overseas by ferry. My object was in Johannesburg, South Africa, about midway around the globe. Beneath an settlement with Lakeland, Globe Aero, Florida, I received an airplane at the Cessna manufacturing unit in Wichita and hurried to Lakeland. Two days later, he flew to Crusader in Bangor, Maine, then the subsequent day at St. John & # 39; s, Newfoundland

The next leg was a 1900 nm over-water leap, diagonally throughout the Atlantic to Funchal above, 700 nm on the south coast of Morocco. I might by no means have visited that airport, but its fame preceded it. There was a consensus, it might get thrilling when the wind was dangerous, and the wind in Funchal was virtually all the time lousy. Madeira's islands, recognized for Madeira wine, are principally rugged hills and low mountain ranges, so there was little room for the traditional runway in Funchal. So the airport was built at the tip of the crescent bay; The strategy is semi-circular, virtually as much as the contact. Navy pilots ought to adore it. The threshold is built on columns that start at a distance of 1000 meters from the bay and stand 250 meters above the water. The threshold starts you up a moderately steep uphill. Right previous the midfield terminal, the runway begins to degree off and then flip downhill so the Midfield is best to stop. Asphalt extends over 5400 ft – the runway length is just not an enormous drawback – however the curved strategy to avoiding hills signifies that you typically wrestle out of the mountains from turbulent winds up to downhill.

Funchal is an inventory of the world's ten worst airports in apply. The historic channel "Most Extreme Airports" meant Funchal's ninth most harmful airport in the world and the third most harmful in Europe. There’s virtually no ramp in Funchal, so in case you are not late and depart early the subsequent morning, you possibly can only smoke, seize a sandwich and depart the town.

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I came late with two other ferry flights, Mooney 231 and Piper Seneca. All three of us went to Rand Airport in Johannesburg. The technical issues related to further necessities made us an extra day, so we had 24 hours to organize for Africa. The dangerous information was that the only avgas refueling automotive was not a load. It was a coach with no power to drive the pump. This meant that a poor baby, who bought gasoline, needed to run a guide swing pump to fill our tank over the sub-Sahara to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The young fuel boy has been operating that pump hundreds of occasions to fill our three planes.

Even worse, I used to be the last aircraft to be refueled and the trainer ran dry before Crusader's final ferry tank was full. This meant some other glorma which may have amassed at the bottom of the trailer tank, maybe passing directly to my ferry tanks. Thankfully, all different containers have been already on. Unfortunately, there are not any useful fast drains on the bottom of the ferry tanks. The house owners are usually not enthusiastic concerning the ferry corporations that minimize their holes on the stomach of their new aircraft to install them. It meant that the only approach I might verify the ferry gasoline for contamination was to climb onto the tank, open the cap and shine the flashlight. Not a lot probability to see something deep in the underside of the tanks

We left Funchal the subsequent morning and went southeast to Mauritania and the Sahara. At this time's destination was Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Once we adopted the dimensions of the adjacent United States above the desert, I watched the 2 gasoline movement needles swing barely with one meter. The engines ran smoothly and all the other entries have been normal, so I wrote it to the instrumental concern. We went to Bamako, Mali, about 200 nm from the unhappy metropolis of legend, Timbuktu; then Yamoussoukro, the capital of Côte d'Ivoire, continued to Abidjan without mechanical complaints. Gasoline streams have been still particles once I turned to Abidjan.

I spoke safely in the sector to a Seneca pilot, Ernie Kune, an A&P mechanic, and he dismissed the issue as a typical new plane dysfunction. It seemed that the AK-47 had soldiers in all places, including the automotive park and foyer of the Intercontinental lodge.

The next day's flight can be brief, nearly 850 nm across the Gulf of Guinea in Libreville, Gabon. Once again I watched the gasoline circulate now and again when our three planes flew to the last stop. Every little thing else appeared regular. We arrived early sufficient to catch the mechanic of Gabon's Cessna. He by no means even saw a photograph of Crusader (hardly anyone else was there), but he assured me that it was "definitely a meter." Really hope.

At the foot of the subsequent day was 1500 nm down the west coast of Africa to Windhoek, Namibia. The other two pilots had flown earlier on this route, they usually instructed turning barely into the Congo River, flying no less than 30 kilometers to the ocean to keep away from Angola's airspace altogether, and then on its approach to 1000 nm south of Tiger Peninsula. Tiger was a small, sandy, white saliva, the removing of the Cunene River to the South Atlantic and the Angolan border with Namibia. Then we might turn a bit of left, again to the coastal Namib Desert and Windhoek with out worry of capturing. Angola and Namibia have been at the moment in struggle, and there was nearly no air drive in Angola. Thus, it assumed that each aircraft was an enemy aircraft. This gave a robust incentive to remain outdoors the Atlantic until we have been nicely aware of Angola.

I have been warned that in this part of the world there were just a few radio beams and most of people who existed. Nevertheless, the journey has thus far shown that only a few fifth worked. Because of this, navigation in a lot of Africa was principally level and shoot or fly landmarks. This was a very long time before GPS was introduced, so finding a vacation spot was moved anyplace to work. Twitchy gasoline flows again. Meter, proper? It was a shock to everybody that near the Equator of South Gabon there was a VOR with a robust sign, Tchibanga (TCH, I feel). Once we crossed it to the level of 11,000 ft and turned off the coast, I pushed my seat again, positioned the appropriate seat ahead so I might put my ft up and let Crusader's autopilot work. [19659002SuoraanallavoisinnähdämelkeinvärikkäänvihreänkaksinkertaisenkatosmetsänjokaulottuujokasuuntaanlänteenlukuunottamattalähesvankkapaksuviidakkojossaolivähänavointatilaaEiköhaluamennäalastähänAfrikanosaanMuutoinmuutamaminuuttisittenvastahakoisesti100Ferry-L-alukseenjokaoliviimeinenpolttoaineFunchalissaOlemmeainalähteneetjalaskeutuneetsiipisäiliöihinyleensäkauimpanaeteenpäinLautasäiliötasennettiinlähesainalentokoneentakaosaanTästäsyystäjouduimmesiirtymäänkauimpaantakasäiliöönmahdollisimmanpianjottaCGeisiirtyisiliianpitkälleKatselinettäpolttoainevirtaavarmistaaksenietteimitäänmuutostatapahtunutmikäänliianepätarkkaTähänmennessäolinvakuuttunutsiitäettäolinvainparanoidinenjaettäkaikkimuutolivatoikeassaPolttoaineenvirtausongelmanäyttiolevanenemmänmielikuvitustakuintodellinenAvasinpaketinsuklaa-siruevästeetpoppedylhäältäpullonvettäjaasettuialaspitkänmatkanetelään[19659002] There was a predictable break of disbelief, during which the autopilot broke and the left wing fell in the direction of the jungle. The proper engine additionally shuts down before I can even react, and the Crusader's nostril descended down the impenetrable tangle of the timber. I knocked the pumps, returned to the wings, pushed the blends forward, and made them easier, and I often tried to override what I might have executed incorrect at the final minute or two. Nothing helped. Every of the 2 100 gallon ferry tanks ran each engines simultaneously, a concession of simplicity. This meant that the identical tank was gasoline or, in this case, gasoline, both engines simultaneously. No matter what prevents the movement of gasoline into the engines, it in all probability got here out of the outboard, and switching back to the grid had not solved the issue.

I fell out of my two associates. "Tom and Ernie, I just lost power with both engines." Ernie first returned, "Bill, don't turn on the radio." Tom Willett jumped subsequent apparently by recognizing that I didn't often converse of this high voice. "Bill, where are you?"

"Tom, I'm right behind you, are you in the eyes. I am about a mile away, turning to the left," I stated desperately looking for openings solely flat place that I might see, there was a small, lazy river, which flows in the direction of the coast, and would quite I might take the chance to crocodiles like making an attempt to dodge the timber. it appears like I was going to abandon my first aircraft. Even worse, I might even rob me. No more ferry visitors. I by no means see area. What a few woman residence? Who feeds my canine?

"I'll be back," Tom stated, interrupting my cynical fatness. "It is a small, grass missionary tape. I've seen it in the last journey." Both engines have been superb. Neither engine had stopped utterly, however it was just a little comfort, and I tied the velocity of the air visitors to 110 knots and tried not to take a look at VSI once I obtained down in the overall path of the river.

Radio was alive when Tom Willett announced Mooneys. "Bill, I have you in the eyes, and I noticed the grass strip," he stated. "It's just north of you." I turned out to the north, but didn't see any vaguely resembling flat spot between timber, a lot less grass runway. Crusader slid like Steinway, and once I finally took the tape, I was virtually above the flawed place where I tried to improvise the sample with out energy. I couldn't start guessing how long the runway was, however it appeared simply too brief for a 6000-kilo double. I expanded east to the east with a shortened footer, a truncated base, and a rush to the ultimate aircraft. Once I stepped out, I dropped the wheels and flaps just to comprehend that I already blew it. I was brief.

I was delighted that there was no cockpit voice recorder on the airplane once I hooked up the impact. I was going to knock down the first crusader to go away the US aircraft. The plane emptied the timber by inches and fell down nicely on the best way to the runway, splashing mud all over the place. It slid midway, half-bounced out of the tall grass over a brief strip. To my astonishment, nothing had penetrated via the upper flanges regardless of the exhausting motion. Someway, the T303's harsh, rear-beam alternative system had protected me badly.

Cessna ran a brief distance and turned to my left at my final velocity when Tom Willett requested me in a Mooney man. He gave me a blade of congratulations, then pulled up, wrote an abbreviated sample and landed. Ernie was nonetheless walking round 11,000 ft in Seneca and spoke with Air Gabon in Libreville at VHF. Tom informed him that my aircraft was intact, and I used to be still respiration and there have been no items. Ernie offered news to Air Gabon. They immediately launched the rescue of Skylane, with a mechanic and instruments. We pulled up the pockets, and simply as I think, both engines had consumed overseas matter, presumably from the strict tank. It appeared to be a semi-dissolved material materials, and it had related the gasoline stream to each engines. We by no means understood why it took so lengthy to show off the gasoline stream. We stored as much impurities as attainable in the plastic packaging, and despatched it to Shell for analysis once I received house. The report steered that it was a long-outdated material filter that was not used, but was supposed to be replaced each six months throughout use. It estimates this materials to be at the least three years previous.

The mechanic did his greatest to wash the injection strains and filters and wished me good luck on a short flight back to Libreville. Willet and I drained as much gasoline as we acquired from both ferry tanks to scale back take-off load. I used to be capable of get out of Tchibang to virtually full wings and I managed to fade again to Libreville simply before night time.

The next day, there have been 20 automobiles outdoors the Air Gabon upkeep hall. All the house owners have been keen to gather their 10-liter share because your complete Crusader gasoline system was drained for each 100 octane, in all probability almost 200 gallons. Each driver tightened 10 liters by way of the chamois earlier than pouring it into the tank of his automotive. Willett's Mooney had been burned just before me in Funchal, so Air Gabon checked his gasoline and found the identical fibrous impurities. Consequently, his plane's gasoline and injection system was additionally to be emptied and cleaned – one other free 130 gallon for the Gabon's automotive membership.

The rest of the trip was anti-climactic. Willett and I opened in Libreville, Namibia on December 29, and we took the 30th cleaning of Windhoek aircraft, and eventually the last leg in the Kalahari desert to Johannesburg on 31 December. Cessna's South African Supplier held the large New Yr celebrations in honor of the first protected arrival of Crusader. It seemed that everyone had heard the double-engine catastrophe and the next touchdown in Gabon. I advised the story ten or extra occasions, and I was instantly interested by 10 of my 15 famous fame.

Editor's observe: Since 1981, each Funchal and Tchibanga airports have been expanded and improved.

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