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That Time a Commercial Aircraft Ran Out of Fuel Mid-Flight...
todayifoundout ^ | May 27, 2014 | Melissa

Posted on 05/29/2014 8:32:05 AM PDT by virgil283

"On July 23, 1983, in the small town of Gimli, Manitoba, Captain Robert Pearson and Co-Pilot Maurice Quintal expertly glided a 100-ton Boeing 767 carrying 69 people to a safe landing without engines, air brakes or flaps, and minimal control of the aircraft......"

.....;

(Excerpt) Read more at todayifoundout.com ...


TOPICS: History; Travel
KEYWORDS: aerospace; aircanada; aviation; canada; commercialaircraft; gimliglider
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"The flight plan for Canada 143 that day began with a short jaunt from Montreal, Quebec to Ottawa, Ontario. Right from the beginning, the crew realized the plane had a faulty fuel control: “A computer known as the Fuel Quantity Information System Process manages the entire fuel loading process. . .The problem was that the original ground crew, and the flight crew (twice!), had forgotten that the new airliner used the metric system (as Canada was in the process of switching to the metric system, so the new planes purchased by Air Canada were being calibrated in metric units); as a result, they had all erroneously used the figure 1.77 lbs/liter for their specific gravity factor in the calculations, but what they should have used was 0.8 kg/liter.

Bottom line, this meant that the plane was filled with only about half of the fuel it needed to make the trip. .....Just minutes later, another pressure gauge “lit up,” and they lost their left engine. Two minutes after that: “The EICAS issued a sharp bong – indicating the complete and total loss of both engines. . . . ‘It’s a sound that Bob and I had never heard before.’ . . . . Starved of fuel, both . . . engines had flamed out. Pearson’s response, recorded on the cockpit voice recorder, was ‘Oh +++++"......

After a quick perusal of the manuals, which had no procedures for a loss of both engines, the pilots quickly realized their only hope was to somehow glide the plane to a safe landing. Luckily for the passengers aboard, while he’d never tried gliding a Boeing 767, Pearson was an extremely experienced glider pilot....At this point, the plane was losing altitude at a rate of approximately 2,000 feet/minute, but at least the pilots could still control it.....

Upon approaching the runway at the old Gimli base, Pearson and Quintal realized they were too high. They then performed a common maneuver in small aircraft called a forward slip, which is to bank into the wind, then apply opposite rudder to keep the plane flying straight, rather than turning; this results in the plane descending more rapidly without increasing airspeed. While commonly done in personal aircraft, this is a very rare maneuver for commercial craft.

Although somewhat risky, this was the pilots’ only option since the flaps and dive-brakes required power from the now-inoperable engines. While all pilots are well familiar with this maneuver (in fact it’s generally required before you can go on your first solo flight in personal aircraft), Pearson had a wealth of experience performing the forward slip maneuver, thanks to not only frequently piloting gliders, but also years of experience towing them: “After releasing the glider, I would have this long tow line hanging under the plane, and I had to be careful not to snag it on the farmer’s fence as I approached the runway. So I would stay high until I cleared the fence, and then did a steep slip to make the runway.”......Nevertheless, they managed to glide in safely and as the plane touched down:

Another problem was that, unknown to the pilots, the abandoned runway had been converted to a recreational center, including auto and go-cart racing“. Spectators, racers, and kids on bicycles fled the runway. The gigantic Boeing was about to become a 132 ton, silver bulldozer. One member of the . . . Club reportedly was walking down the dragstrip, five gallon can full of hi-octane fuel in hand, when he looked up and saw the 767 headed right for him.”

Pearson laid heavily on the wheel brakes directly after touching down and: “Two tires blew out. The nose gear . . . collapsed . . . the nose . . . slammed against the tarmac, bounced [and threw a] three hundred foot shower of sparks. The right engine nacelle struck the ground . . . .

The 767 came to a stop . . . less than a hundred feet from spectators, barbecues and campers…”

more at site. [h/t American Digest]

1 posted on 05/29/2014 8:32:05 AM PDT by virgil283
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To: virgil283

Just Damn.

It’s a true fact that all planes land. Not exactly how you want them to land, but still...


2 posted on 05/29/2014 8:35:58 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: virgil283
Gliding in a 767 with no power to a former runway?

That's comparable to Sully's Hudson river landing.

3 posted on 05/29/2014 8:38:02 AM PDT by AU72
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To: virgil283
FYI...complete Smithsonian Channel episode here
4 posted on 05/29/2014 8:38:16 AM PDT by ken5050 ("One useless man is a shame, two are a law firm, three or more are a Congress".. John Adams)
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To: virgil283

Thanks for reminding of that amazing story and pilot.


5 posted on 05/29/2014 8:38:38 AM PDT by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: virgil283

The story of the Gimli Glider. I read that recently that very aircraft had been retired from passenger service.


6 posted on 05/29/2014 8:39:14 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Haven't you lost enough freedoms? Support an end to the WOD now.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Take offs are optional. Landings are not. :<} I remember reading this story several years ago. Sometimes skill and luck go hand in hand. Just get the racers off the air strip. STAT!


7 posted on 05/29/2014 8:41:49 AM PDT by rktman (Ethnicity: Nascarian. Race: Daytonafivehundrian)
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5% Carry 100% of Free Republic Expense


Click The Pic To Donate

Support FR

8 posted on 05/29/2014 8:42:27 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW (The Fed Gov is not one ring to rule them all)
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To: Responsibility2nd

We have never left one up there.


9 posted on 05/29/2014 8:44:23 AM PDT by mortal19440
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To: virgil283

Gimli, son of Gloin?


10 posted on 05/29/2014 8:48:32 AM PDT by eCSMaster ("It is not the color of his skin, ... it is the blackness that fills his soul")
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11 posted on 05/29/2014 8:48:46 AM PDT by Rio (Proud resident of the State of Jefferson)
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To: virgil283

I’m still surprised that thing can be profitable carrying 69 passengers


12 posted on 05/29/2014 8:49:55 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Ever try to google the tail number?


13 posted on 05/29/2014 8:51:08 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: virgil283

767s were flying in 1983?


14 posted on 05/29/2014 8:51:21 AM PDT by armydawg505
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To: GeronL

No, why?


15 posted on 05/29/2014 8:51:39 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Haven't you lost enough freedoms? Support an end to the WOD now.)
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To: ken5050

Thanks Ken, I haven’t seen this program.


16 posted on 05/29/2014 8:52:22 AM PDT by virgil283 (That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.)
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To: mortal19440

Except MAF 370.

So far - there is still no proof that it ever landed.


17 posted on 05/29/2014 8:53:58 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: virgil283

btt


18 posted on 05/29/2014 8:54:44 AM PDT by KSCITYBOY
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To: virgil283

...and the Obama Administration’s investigation is likely to be completed by January 31, 2017.


19 posted on 05/29/2014 8:54:59 AM PDT by Night Hides Not (For every Ted Cruz we send to DC, I can endure 2-3 "unviable" candidates that beat incumbents.)
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To: GeronL

It is not the passengers that keep an airliner in business. It is the cargo.


20 posted on 05/29/2014 8:55:39 AM PDT by US_MilitaryRules (Did you just get off the short bus or what?)
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