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28th January 1972

After a diversion to London Heathrow the day before, due to fog at London Gatwick, a BCal Vickers VC10 was being readied by a crew in the morning for the short ferry flight back to London Gatwick for its scheduled flight later that morning. The wind at London Gatwick had been above the aircraft operational limits earlier in the day, but the wind had shifted, and was now with limits, with expectations of improving further.


The aircraft was broken up ~2 years after the landing incident (Source; http://www.british-caledonian.com/)


The aircraft was refuelled and a total of 16.000 kg's of fuel was on board for the short flight. The high fuel load was required for weight and balance reasons. Due to the very short flight, the captain performed the departure and arrival briefing before departure from London Heathrow. Although this was a breach of company procedure, non of the crew objected. The short flight was flown at 2000ft and due to the strong wind, some moderate to severe turbulence was encountered during the flight. The weather for Gatwick was;

  • Clouds overcast at 1200 ft, broken 1000 ft

  • Visibility 4000 meters

  • Temperature 4º C

  • Wind 040º at 20 gusting 32

The flight was assigned an ILS approach to runway 08, giving them a crosswind component of 17 knots. The speed over the threshold was high, 145 knots, 9 knots over the approach speed for the weight and wind, which was 136 knots. 8 seconds before touchdown the throttles were closed and the flare was initiated. And a firm touchdown occurred at a speed of 126 knots, and the aircraft bounced back into the air. While back in the air with a pitch attitude of 6º nose u, spoilers and reversers were deployed on the captains' command. This resulted in a pitch change and the aircraft touched down a second time on the nose gear (4º pitch nose down), and following the main gear touch down bounced back into the air with the pitch reaching 15º nose up. A third touchdown occurred, with the pitch no 11º nose up. Again the aircraft bounced and touched down a fourth and final time.

The touchdown sequence (Source; http://www.british-caledonian.com/)

The following data were retrieved with regards to touchdowns;

  • 1st touchdown - no data provided

  • 2nd touchdown - 1.75 G at 119 knots

  • 3rd touchdown 3.55 G at 103 knots

  • 4th touchdown 0,4 G at 94 knots.

The aircraft was stopped on the runway, and an emergency shutdown procedure was performed. The aircraft was written off due to damage that occurred in the landing incident; the following was listed but is not believed to be complete;

  • Both nose wheel tires deflated

  • One nose gear axle broken off

  • Fuselage crease forward of the wing root

  • Severe distortion of the centre section torque box

Creases in the fuselage (Source; http://www.british-caledonian.com/)


A board of inquiry concluded that the cause of the incident was crew error.


The aircraft was placed in storage with its titles removed serving as spare part aircraft for the other aircraft in the fleet, 2 years later the aircraft was broken up.

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