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3rd of June 2012

10 years to date, a Lockheed SP-2H Neptune had departed Porterville Airport (California, USA). The aircraft, with a crew of two, had been tasked with helping fight a wildfire (the George Fire) within the Giant Sequoia National Monument in California.

The aircraft on the 15th of June, 2011 (©Ned Harris)

After dropping its load of fire retardent the aircraft returned to Porterville Airport to be re-loaded with a fire retardant. With the aircraft established on the approach, after an uneventful mission the gear was selected down. And that is where the uneventful mission changed into an eventful mission when there were only two green indications for the landing gear, instead of the normal three green indications. The left main landing gear would not extend.

The aircraft settling on its left jet engine pod (source Youtube / Koolestvidz)

The approach was subsequently aborted.

As the company's base was at Minden-Tahoe Airport, with more support available, the aircraft diverted to Minden-Tahoe. During the diversion, the crew contacted the operator's maintenance and operations for advice. Once all the emergency procedures and tips from the maintenance department were exhausted, no other option remained than an emergency landing on two gears.

An approach was flown towards runway 16 with the starboard and nose landing gear extended. The port landing gear remained retracted. The aircraft was set down on the runway on the extended gears. once the speed bled off the left wing dropped and the left jet engine pod contacted the runway and the left engine propellor struck the runway. Initially, there was enough rudder authority to keep the aircraft aligned with the runway. During the latter stage of the roll-out, the aircraft pulled left and the left jet pod pylon broke off, as a result of the sideways motion. After the aircraft came to a stop, both crew members escape the aircraft without injuries.

Video of the landing (source Youtube / Koolestvidz)

Different sources on the internet give different outcomes of this accident. They vary from light damage to damaged beyond repair. The registration of the aircraft was cancelled on the 11th of August 2014 when it was withdrawn from use.

** Editorial note ** V2 Aviation - Training & Maintenance has not been able to obtain an investigation report on this accident. This blog is therefore based on several internet sources. should there be an inconsistency in the blog don't hesitate to get in touch with us. There are two possibilities to do that, via the comments function at the bottom of this page or via the contact page of the website.

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