Ooops

The copilot did his best to go flying in this historic 1950’s Handley Page Victor today. Since that was never the plan, the suprized pilot did his best to level the plane and bring her back to earth. Bob Prothero averted a disaster during “Cold War Jets Day” in England after the co-pilot hit throttle  by mistake.

The crew was only supposed to taxi the aircraft on the runway closer to the crowd for photos when the co-pilot inadvertently firewalled the throttles and the bomber accelerated down the runway.  The aircraft briefly lifted off and veered left, reaching as high as 150 feet, before retired RAF pilot Bob Prothero was able to nurse the barely flying bomber back down to a landing on the grass beyond the end of the runway.

It’s probably a good idea to brief the controls with a non pilot. Made it a more exciting airshow though.

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6 responses to “Ooops

  1. I really want to give the PIC the benefit of the doubt, but something doesn’t add up here. If the idea was just to taxi along the runway for a photo-op, how in the world did the throttle get advanced all the way to take-off power? Maybe the friction locks on the throttles prevent rapid movement or something, but it sure looked to me like they had enough time to pull the throttle back off the firewall before reaching V-r. The PIC deserves heaps of credit for getting the aircraft back on the ground without breaking anything or running into the crowd, of course, but it never should have gotten that far in the first place.

  2. Jober,
    I agree. It seems that the easier, safer solution was to have the PIC quickly close the throttle.

    More from the “Daily Mail” in the UK:
    The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) launched an investigation because neither (were) officially licensed to fly, although it was fine for them to taxi along the runway as had been intended. Ian Weston, head of enforcement, said: ‘The aircraft took off because the engineer did not shut down the engines when told to do so by the pilot.
    ‘The pilot attempted to shut the engines down but the aircraft lifted off. ‘The problem arose as a result of the engineer ‘freezing’ at a time of high stress. ‘This is a recognised state of mind which can affect certain individuals

    In its report, the CAA later blamed the unnamed co-pilot, saying he ‘froze’ when ordered to pull off the throttle, but it is not taking legal action

  3. I remember reading a story from a F-15 pilot who was doing fast taxis for a family day. The jet had a light fuel load and got airborne much sooner then he expected. I suspect the same happened here. Landing was scary to watch. I’ve done that in a Cessna. Couldn’t imagine doing that in a jet that was over a thousand pounds.

    • There was some discussion as to whether this was accidental. Some crews had performed high-speed taxi demonstrations in the past (other aircraft) to give the crowd the look, feel, and sound of the aircraft on takeoff, like the F-15 pilot.
      I think the inept copilot theory was at work here. A high performance plane can get away from you and the right seater didn’t belong there.

  4. Scary doesn’t begin to describe it. I’m surprised he got down with no damage–helluva good stick/yoke
    & throttle work. People have bad dreams about getting in situations like that. Yikes! Fact he veered so far left of not just centerline but runway itself tells me thing was no pre-plan.

    • I agree VX. Very good piloting skills saved the day.
      Other evidence this was unintentional: He ran out of runway and ended up on the grass. It could have ended badly.

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