Anyone else see the Devon on the news? Appears to have suffered some sort of heavy landing incident or undercarriage failure. Details were kind of sketchy but the item said the aircraft was transporting a load of Sevens fans to Wellington when it had to perform a forced landing at Ohakea. Anyone know any more?
Weeellll, given the pilot himself said there was nothing wrong with the aircraft prior to landing, and from the TV film of the incident the nose-wheel for sure was down so it can be assumed the main undercarriage was likewise, it looks to me like it was planted a bit hard and the gear collapsed.Having now seen a much clearer photo in the Dom Post, you can see that the main undercarriage is out but folded under from the impact.
The Insurance will determine whether or not it is repaired, but the work will be pretty extensive. Both engines and propellers, not to mention whatever they find when the lift it.
The Devon, like all De Havilland aircraft, is built like the proverbial brick out-house. They are not over endowed with an excess of power however; single-engine performance was terrible,like, it would fly providing it was descending, and I recall one at Wigram which suffered an engine failure after take-off, and only managed to get close enough to the airfield to enter via a crash-gate!
From the photos in the paper it looks like the RH wing will need replacing, Devon wings are notoriously hard to make major repairs on due to the Redux adhesive bonding (The wings were essentially glued together). It may be possible to find another wing, for example the Classic flyers museum at Tauranga has a RH wing that hasnt been fitted to one of its examples as due to that aircraft being hung against a wall. All very expensive though.... With regards to the single engine performance (or lack thereof) for the Devon (although not a factor in this case) I can confirm that it can be interesting in certain circumstances. A few years ago when I was at Gulf Aeronuatics we had just done a prop change and some engine work on one of the 3 Devons we looked after. Although I'm sure that the practice is frowned upon, a number of us came on the "test flight" over the Ardmore training area. (it wasnt strictly a test flight as the work had been minor and therefore did not actually require testing) I think there were about 6 or 7 of us on board in the end! over the training area, the pilot shut down the engine where work had been done, and attempted to feather the prop (the new one) to check that worked. Due to a mis adjustment somewhere, the prop didnt feather, but continued windmilling. O.K needs some work, lets restart and head back to Ardmore.... Oops, cant restart! For some reason the engine then displayed a reluctance to airstart again, possibly due to some factor with the windmilling prop. One of the engineers on board stood in the cockpit door troubleshooting the matter with the pilot, another peered out the cabin windows at the problem engine. During this time, with the significant drag of the windmilling prop , we were getting lower and lower - closer to the Hunua Range. I beleive we were below the top of the ridges by the time the engine finally came back to life and we headed back to Ardmore. Strangely it is only recently I have come to realise what a close run thing that was! Generally though, providing the prop could be feathered, the devons could fly quite well on one engine. The Gyspy Queen 70 series engines fitted to the RNZAF machines only (therefore all airworthy NZ machines) had a few extra HP over other examples around the world, so that would probably help. I hope that a solution can be found to get ZK-UDO back flying again shortly.
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...