Ice Cap Recovery of Aircraft 57-490 – Page 2






With the drag caused by the propeller in the leading edge of the wing and both the numbers one and two engines out, the pilot was experiencing control problems and elected to land as soon as possible.  Just as he touched down on the snow, the propeller dropped off of the wing leading edge; however, with the damaged left landing gear and ski, he continued to have trouble in holding the aircraft level.  As  the ground speed dropped off, the aircraft slewed to the left and came to rest approximately 35 miles from Dye III, with the left wing resting on the left pylon fuel tank and the left side of the aircraft resting on the left main ski.


It was determined that the cause of the accident was the failure of the number one engine gearbox, causing a portion of the gearbox and the attached propeller to go to the right and hit the number two propeller.  The number one engine gearbox and propeller then hit the wing leading edge between the number one and number two engines, where it was embedded.  The number two propeller then flew to the right and cut a vertical hole in the aircraft skin, followed by cutting a gap in the gas turbine compressor compartment and then hitting the forward end of the left main ski.  The force of the impact on the ski caused the upper end of the landing gear jackscrews to be pulled loose at the pillow blocks.  Fortunately, the landing gear shelf brackets had been replaced with steel ones on all six ski aircraft as a result of a recommendation to do so in the accident report of ski aircraft 57-492 six months earlier.  This had prevented the separation of the landing gear and main ski from separating from the aircraft during touchdown and causing much greater damage.


A later inspection of the horse-collar area behind the number one engine firewall, it was found that the engine truss mount had been bent during the separation of the propeller and gearbox from the engine.  This was to change our original plans for completing our repairs at the touchdown site.


After completing our inspection and taking photos, we boarded our arrival aircraft and attempted a takeoff for return to Sondrestrom; however, with the temperature warming up and the surface snow beginning to melt, the skis were being held down by the wet snow.  So, after several attempts to take off, everyone was asked to go sit on either the cargo ramp or the ramp door to help break the nose ski loose from the snow during takeoff.  I thought we looked quite funny, so I just had to get down to the cargo floor long enough to take a couple photos.  They looked just like a bunch of crows sitting on a







Photographs courtesy of Earl Huddleston




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