October 8, 1994
Yolo County Airport, Davis CA
After a short, pleasant trip from
Palo Alto I
arrived rather abruptly at Yolo County airport. While
on short final I was a slightly concerned in that I was touching down a
bit faster than I normally do. I attributed it to having a slight
tail wind and continued my approach. I then noticed that I was sinking
a bit lower than I normally do. About when that thought went through
my mind, the prop started to chew
up the pavement and all sorts of grinding noises started to come from
the underside of the plane. I then realized that I had failed to
put the gear down and loud invectives started to drowned out the grinding
noises. The plane slid almost directly down the center line, skewing
about 70 degrees to the right as it came to a stop.
I very carefully shut everthing down and exited the plane.
There was no fuel leakage anywhere. Grabbing my handheld radio on
my way out, I made calls to let the aircraft in the pattern (mostly Twin
Otters hauling sky divers) what I had done. As I did my deed in the
first couple of hundred feet, they were able to safely land long over the
top of me.
It was an interesting experiance getting the plane off
of the runway. There was significant skydiving going on that day
and I had basically shut down the whole operation. In order to quickly
reopen the airport, the skydiving operation drove down to where I was with
two van loads of burly skydivers. As I was fairly light on fuel,
they were able to physically *lift* the plane and *carry* it into the grass.
The damage to the plane was
prop. Blades curled nicely. The hub and clamps
were all fine.
Engine. Probably ok, but I certainly wasn't going to
start it again without a tear down. As the engine had about 700 hours
(1200 tbo) I went ahead and overhauled it (CalWest at San Carlos, CA),
upgrading it to a E-225 (extra 40 HP) in the processs. The only traumatic
damage found during the overhaul was that the gear that drives the vacuum
pump had lost a tooth.
The damage to the pilot was:
Wings. The only thing that was damaged in the wings
at all was the inboard trailing edges of the flaps. The flaps were
down when we hit and the sliding down the runway was primarly on the flaps
and the exhaust stacks.
Belly. The belly skin was torn up from the nose gear
wheel well back past the the main carry-through. Surprisingly the
damage was mostly in the skin, and so we didn't have to replace too much
in the way of formers or stringers.
Despite the financial folly of it (fighting the insurance
company was a tale too painful to tell), I decided I had to put N494B back
into the air one way or another. I don't think that I could look
myself in the mirror if I didn't resurrect
Physically. None. Not a scratch, bruise or bump.
And N494B wasn't even equiped with shoulder belts.
Certificate. None. I promptly notified the FAA
and the NTSB. As no one was hurt and there was very little property
damage the NTSB didn't even bother looking into it. The FAA sent
someone out from the Sacramento FSDO to look at things, but after looking
at the records (mine and the plane) they lost interest. Not even
a recommendation to get some remedial instruction (which I did anyway)
Psychically. Major. I had flown this plane for
not quite a year and had gotten pretty sentimental about it. Bending