Skip to comments.That Time a Commercial Aircraft Ran Out of Fuel Mid-Flight...
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 ...
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. . . . Its a sound that Bob and I had never heard before. . . . . Starved of fuel, both . . . engines had flamed out. Pearsons 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 hed 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 its 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 farmers 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]
It’s a true fact that all planes land. Not exactly how you want them to land, but still...
That's comparable to Sully's Hudson river landing.
Thanks for reminding of that amazing story and pilot.
The story of the Gimli Glider. I read that recently that very aircraft had been retired from passenger service.
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!
We have never left one up there.
Gimli, son of Gloin?
I’m still surprised that thing can be profitable carrying 69 passengers
Ever try to google the tail number?
767s were flying in 1983?
Thanks Ken, I haven’t seen this program.
Except MAF 370.
So far - there is still no proof that it ever landed.
...and the Obama Administration’s investigation is likely to be completed by January 31, 2017.
It is not the passengers that keep an airliner in business. It is the cargo.