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Author Topic: A reef in time!  (Read 39629 times)

Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2012, 04:42:44 AM »

And another. This time a B-24 that was running out of options on the return flight to its base at Funafuti. The reef landing although not perfect was deemed more preferable to a long swim around the Pacific ocean...


"At 0001Z [ local time, DHRS], 29 Dec 1943 I saw Lt Osborne make a crash landing on the reef in the northwest end of the lagoon of Majuro Atoll."

http://marshall.csu.edu.au/Marshalls/html/essays/es-ww2-8.html

This must be the place
 
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 05:10:08 AM by Jeff Victor Hayden »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2012, 05:19:10 AM »

Another...

It seems that given the option of ditching into 18,000 ft of water or 2.8 ft of water on a coral reef surrounding that little atoll in the distance, the latter was deemed more preferable.

http://marshall.csu.edu.au/Marshalls/html/B24/B24_Arno.html
Wreckage of a Consolidated B-24D "Liberator" off Jab'u, Arno Atoll

This must be the place
 
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 05:29:19 AM by Jeff Victor Hayden »
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2012, 05:25:10 AM »

Great pictures Jeff.

Thanks!
Woody (former 3316R)
"the watcher"
 
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2012, 05:53:23 AM »

Great pictures Jeff.

Thanks!

These photos were taken by one of the two other B-24's which nursed the crippled B-24 back. They gave protection from Japanese fighters and dropped supplies to the downed crew. The quality isn't great but under the circumstances what they did was amazing. The B-24 wingspan was too much to get a perfect dry landing, one wing would have been felling trees. Plus the low ground clearance of the B-24 doesn't adhere itself to reef landings. They did a pretty good job though Woody, the plane looks to be in one piece, they all walked away from it, or paddled away from it.
Great pictures indeed, the middle picture is taken from a PBY at a later date, 26 days later, plane already breaking apart.
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« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 06:05:37 AM by Jeff Victor Hayden »
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2012, 06:10:37 AM »

It's truly remarkable that there is no obvious damage. I hope they rescued the crew.

Added: I just read the story. Too bad about the crew. That probably happened more than once.
Woody (former 3316R)
"the watcher"
 
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 06:17:50 AM by C.W. Herndon »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2012, 06:30:24 AM »

It's truly remarkable that there is no obvious damage. I hope they rescued the crew.

Added: I just read the story. Too bad about the crew. That probably happened more than once.

It did, numerous times.
 :(
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2012, 07:58:43 AM »

The B-24 wingspan was too much to get a perfect dry landing, one wing would have been felling trees. Plus the low ground clearance of the B-24 doesn't adhere itself to reef landings. They did a pretty good job though Woody, the plane looks to be in one piece, they all walked away from it, or paddled away from it.
Great pictures indeed, the middle picture is taken from a PBY at a later date, 26 days later, plane already breaking apart.

Looking at Arno on Google Earth it's hard to tell exactly where this happened, much less whether anything of the B-24 remains, but it would be interesting to know.  I'd be willing to bet that there is still wreckage there. Maybe someone with more time than I have can Google Earth the shoreline (it's a big atoll).

One thing that is quite apparent is that the reef morphology at Arno is quite different from either Gardner or Seringapatam.  I don't see a smooth surface out near the reef edge.  I doubt that the B-24 pilot had any thought of saving the airplane.  I imagine that his primary concern was saving lives.  He elected to land as close to shore as possible and he obviously did a great job.

The break-up of the airplane as shown in the middle photo is exactly what I would expect.  It looks like waves striking the port-side vertical stabilizer have caused the empennage to fail at its weakest point - the waist gunner windows.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #37 on: September 07, 2012, 08:17:15 AM »

And another. This time a B-24 that was running out of options on the return flight to its base at Funafuti. The reef landing although not perfect was deemed more preferable to a long swim around the Pacific ocean...


"At 0001Z [ local time, DHRS], 29 Dec 1943 I saw Lt Osborne make a crash landing on the reef in the northwest end of the lagoon of Majuro Atoll."

http://marshall.csu.edu.au/Marshalls/html/essays/es-ww2-8.html

Thanks Jeff.  This is an interesting case.  The aircraft is on the protected lagoon-side reef so it hasn't been subjected to anything like the forces present on the reef at Niku.  The wing is largely intact but the fuselage is gone.  Odd.
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pilotart

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2012, 04:21:12 PM »

Kudos to Art Johnson, who I believe is the one who brought to our attention the General Aircraft Ltd ST-18 Croydon aircraft and its 1936 reef landing, complete with pictures, through his Forum posting of 10 days ago. A really nice piece of research, Art!

Bruce,

Thank you for the credit on this discovery and that  “Better Than Average Luck”  is a very well presented Research Bulletin that so skillfully outlines all of those uncanny similarities to the Earhart/Noonan's tragic flight less than nine months later.

I had just been doing a Google for the report of Gatty(?) saying to Sir Harry(?) that a Reef Landing would have been most likely for Amelia.  (At least some noted Aviator saying that to a high British Colonial Official.)

I would suspect that there were other 'reef-landings' occurring prior to 1936 and I suppose they weren't usually considered newsworthy.

From Fredrick Crocombe's article in Flight:

Quote
It now remains for me to say something about our return journey, as far as it went, and in the course of which we seem to have attracted far more interest than if we had made an orthodox return and captured the Australia-England record —all thanks to the fact that it nearly ended in tragedy for ourselves as well as for the aircraft.

From their mutual relationship with the Weems School and Pan Am, Fred should have been quite familiar with Gatty.

Quote
In 1934, Gatty formed the South Seas Commercial Company with Donald Douglas, with the plan to deliver air service to the islands of the South Pacific. However, the company was soon sold to Pan Am who brought Gatty into the company to organize flight routes in that region.

If we could locate Harold Gatty's statement on reef landings, it would help support Fred's knowledge of this option.
Art Johnson
 
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pilotart

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2012, 04:26:33 PM »

Bob's son was riding in the back seat and was severely injured but survived and he told us that his father said, as they were on the approach to the farmer's field, that he was going to put the gear down to try to save the plane and minimize damage. If he had kept the wheels in the wells the plane would have slid on its belly, damaging the belly, but they both would have walked away. I actually suspect his very last thought was "why the $#@^& did I put the ^%$# gear down!"

A great--if tragic--story.  May Bob rest in peace.

It shows that even very seasoned pilots do things that you wouldn't have done.  This is why "coulda, woulda, shoulda" never leads to "did."  People make choices.  Sometimes they work out well; sometimes they don't.

Yes, may Bob RIP.  Although I've made many intentional landings in 'plowed fields', gear up would definitely have been the favored choice in that situation.

There is a BIG difference between an engine failed emergency landing and a precautionary landing when you have power available.  Notice in the "Reef in Time" article quoted in the Report that Capt Wood first made a 'Touch & Go' trial before his landing and then he was able to steer around those Boulders on roll out after final landing (no steering available after a 'wheels-up' touch-down and it's that 'quick-stop' that kills).

If you watched "Flying Wild Alaska" you would notice that Jim's 'off-airport' landings looked like 'three-point' but were actually very tail-low 'wheel-landings' (referring to Crocombe's observation).
Art Johnson
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #40 on: September 15, 2012, 02:49:32 AM »


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob's son was riding in the back seat and was severely injured but survived and he told us that his father said, as they were on the approach to the farmer's field, that he was going to put the gear down to try to save the plane and minimize damage. If he had kept the wheels in the wells the plane would have slid on its belly, damaging the belly, but they both would have walked away. I actually suspect his very last thought was "why the $#@^& did I put the ^%$# gear down!"


gl

The photo of me giving some flight instruction in this same aircraft that I posted in March shows Robert, Bob's son, in the front seat, we were doing touch and goes. Robert turned out to be a pretty good pilot later.

gl
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: A reef in time!
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2012, 11:25:38 AM »

"Robert turned out to be a pretty good pilot later."
Must have been a result of some pretty good instruction by some guy by the name of Mr. Gary LaPook.  You're welcome Gary. 8)
No Worries Mates
LTM   Harry (TIGHAR #3244R)
 
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