ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 55443
Last updated: 19 May 2013
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Narrative:After take off from Laarbruch, West Germany for a ferry flight to St. Athan the nose wheel failed to retract. The pilot reduced power so as not to exceed airspeed with the gear. The nose wheel subsequently retracted but on reselecting power both engines failed to respond. The crew ejected at 230 ft and the aircraft crashed near Bergen, Netherlands
Panavia Tornado GR1
|Operator:||XV Sqn RAF|
|C/n / msn:|| |
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Phase:|| Take off|
|Departure airport:||RAF Laarbruch, Germany|
|Destination airport:||RAF St. Athan, UK|
A flight test crew from RAF St Athan had been sent to collect ZA468 to return it to ST Athan for a scheduled servicing. When the crew arrived ZA468 was not in the configuration that they were expecting (2 x under wing fuel tanks, 1 x under fuselage, all full and the usual ECM and Chaff Pods), so the take off was re-briefed and they decided to use Emergency Ram Air (ERA) for this take off as they were not familiar with this configuration for a Tornado.
New speeds were calculated and ZA468 lined up for a take off with ERA selected and full combat power. On selection of undercarriage up, the nose gear light up failed to indicate, so the pilot selected air brakes out, landing flap and de-selected combat power to full dry power so the problem could be diagnosed. However he immediately became aware of the speed and height reducing, so he selected air brakes in and full re-heat but the engines failed to spool up above flight idle. He informed the navigator of the emergency and tried again to get the engines to respond but to no avail.
Shortly afterwards with the height reducing below 230ft and the speed though 180 knots he ordered command ejection. The accident was thought to have been caused by the pilot inadvertently selecting the throttles to idle and then slamming them to full dry power thus inducing and engine surge on both engine. Having ERA selected would increase this risk but due to the lack of evidence from the wreckage, this could not be confirmed.
However the wreckage did reveal that the nose gear was actually up at the time of impact and that the micro switch could have been incorrectly set and this would have prevented the initial raising of the nose gear.
The buffeting air is believed to have caused the nose gear to raise before impact.
||Dr. John Smith
||Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]|
||Updated [Phase, Source, Narrative]|
||Updated [Operator, Narrative]|
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