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Viscount Accident Mangalore 1954

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Viscount Accident Mangalore 1954

Old 31st Oct 2020, 07:19
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Viscount Accident Mangalore 1954

Today marks 66 years since TAA lost it's first Vickers Viscount in a training accident at Mangalore Victoria.
You can still read a summary of the accident in a 1955 edition of the DCA Air Safety Digest of 1955 if you do a search on google.
Interesting reading. Would be interested to hear from anyone who was working for or associated with TAA etc. at that time.
Also be interested to know if three engine takeoffs were part of Viscount endorsements after the accident.
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Old 31st Oct 2020, 09:34
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Thanks for posting, a tragic loss of 3 lives in a different era. Highlights some interesting differences between the multi engine pistons and turboprops of the day. Has anyone got any real world experience of conducting an intentional one engine inop takeoff they would like to share?

Direct link to the report is here...

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Old 31st Oct 2020, 14:17
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3 Engine Ferry

With checking approval on three four engine heavy turboprop aircraft that had three engine ferry approval I can say that the most dangerous part was the training and renewal which in two of the aircraft was done without a simulator.
The Rolls Royce Dart was the worst as the throttle of the simulatored failed engine had to be constantly adjusted to simulate the feathered engine during the takeoff roll otherwise a negative torque situation would develop that would eventually lead to a loss of directional control. A real life three engine ferry was far safer.

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Old 31st Oct 2020, 20:24
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Wow- sounds like a pretty high workload.

Thank god we can use sims for engine out training now.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 01:50
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That Viscount accident should never have occurred if the pilot in command had used common sense in that it was a very risky manoeuvre. But that is being wise after the event. As far as I can recall, the crew were all ex RAAF and from personal experience of that era risky flying procedures were almost the norm in the RAAF compared to the accent on flight safety we see now.
By the time I underwent a conversion to the Viscount at the RAAF No 34 Squadron in the Sixties, the instruction was excellent and no risks were taken. Attitudes had changed..

In the 1950's DCA Examiners of Airmen were invariably ex RAAF wartime pilots so they were tarred with the same brush, as it were. We can read that accident report today and think what a bunch of idiots they were sticking their necks out by playing around with a three engine takeoffs in preparation for the unlikely day when a three-engine ferry flight might be needed. A similar accident happend in 1954 when a DH Dove crashed at Camden. The pilot was a DCA Examiner of Airman and former RAAF pilot. On that occasion the Examiner feathered one engine at lift off to check the rate of climb on one engine. Directional control was immediately lost. The Examiner was killed.

Some years ago I ran into a former RAAF colleague I had trained on Lincoln bombers in the Fifties. Over coffee and general reminiscence of the so called good old days, he said he remembered the countless simulated engine failures I had pulled on him. He said in each dual instruction session he could count on at least three or four asymmetric circuits and landings as well as practice engine failures on take off. I must say I felt a bit guilty about that, as to me in those days, a plethora of practice engine failures on Lincolns was almost the norm during dual instruction.

Looking back now I am convinced the engine failures I pulled on my students were overdone. Put it down to over enthusiasm as I was only 26 and enjoyed being an instructor on the Lincoln. In self-defence one could say practice engine failures were an important part of the conversion process on the Lincoln. After all, in the 3000 hours I had flown on type I had experienced over 32 real engine failures requiring feathering a propeller; of which a good proportion were precautionary shut downs due to engine coolant leaks or overheating. Yet in later times I had only one engine shut down in the 12 years I flew the 737. Engine reliability was a big factor.

Has anyone got any real world experience of conducting an intentional one engine inop takeoff they would like to share?
I don't know about modern day practice but I cannot imagine that sort of cowboy stuff would be tolerated by CASA; and rightly so. Apologies for going back to the long distant past, but during test flying at ARDU Laverton when the Australian Lincolns were coming into squadron service, I believe the RAAF chief test pilot at the time (Squadron Leader 'Gel' Cuming) did experiment with three engine takeoffs. The Lincoln being a tail-wheel aircraft, was a lot different to the nose wheel design of the Viscount. Cumin’s technique was to start the takeoff run using both inboard engines initially until rudder control was effective, then gradually introduce one outboard engine (the other outboard being already feathered) at a rate commensurate with rudder effectiveness. But as far as I can recall this was test pilot stuff and certainly not practiced during dual conversion.

However, the Cumins report was a factor when a Lincoln crashed during a planned asymmetric full stop at Townsville in 1953. The instructor was Flight Lieutenant Syd Gooding DFC. On that occasion the instructor was demonstrating an asymmetric (feathered prop) landing on Townsville (then) runway 02. Due to a slight crosswind and the fact the Lincoln was a Mk 31 with a long nose, the aircraft began to drift well off the centre of the runway.

As the pilot recounted later, he thought he could make a successful go-around on three engines if he was able to stay on the runway long enough to maintain directional control - in other words what was effectively a touch and go. He recalled this had been done successfully by Cuming the test pilot.

Unfortunately, by now the Lincoln was off the runway and the pilot had no choice but to try and get the Lincoln into the air on three engines. Directional control was lost as the aircraft had not reached safe three engine flying speed, and for a few seconds the aircraft flew in ground effect before hitting a power pole in the middle of the aerodrome. The Lincoln crashed and caught fire. Fortunately the three man crew escaped without serious injury.

Just before the aircraft erupted in flames and as the crew were running away from the wreckage, the instructor realised he had dropped his wallet containing his payday money. He started to run back to find the wallet but was restrained from doing so by his student. It was just then the aircraft exploded in flames. The following day RAAF photographers took shots of the wreckage. I was given a copy.

Thirty years later I discovered that the instructor Syd Gooding, who had long since retired, was now living at Numurkah in northern Victoria. I rang his phone number and a familiar voice answered with "Good morning - this is Syd Gooding speaking." He was well into his 70's by then. I introduced myself as one of his former students on Lincolns at Townsville. I said I still had a photo of him taken by a RAAF photographer in 1953 where he was standing among the wreckage of the Lincoln, pipe in hand and the caption was "All my own work."

Syd replied in a wry voice "I suppose you can't see a wallet among the wreckage, can you?"

Apologies for the thread drift.

Syd Gooding's crash

Last edited by Centaurus; 2nd Nov 2020 at 04:11.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 02:58
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Originally Posted by Centaurus View Post

Apologies for the thread drift.
No apology needed, stories like this make PPRuNe a more interesting place
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 03:06
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Seeing that the thread has already drifted, another engine-out take-off was designed for the Caribou by the first CO of RTFV, SQNLDR Chris Sugden DFC*. His concern was that an engine out landing might lead to an aircraft being left overnight in an insecure location, and lead to total loss before an engine change could be effected. He practiced the takeoff at Butterworth prior to deployment. As far as I recall, the technique was used only once in the field. It required a fairly long runway.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 06:12
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No apology needed, stories like this make PPRuNe a more interesting place
Around 1954 a Lincoln flew spare parts from Darwin to a VIP aircraft stuck at Alice Springs. The captaim was Flying Officer Wally Wearne, a former wartime Lancaster pilot.
On touch-down back at Darwin an outboard engine suddenly went to full takeoff power without pilot action. Naturally the aircraft started to swing off the runway. The pilot applied full opposite rudder and brakes to try and stop the aircraft leaving the runway. .

The copilot tried to cut the power on the runaway outboard engine using its mixture control swwitch which is one of four electrical switches in a small box on the instrument panel in front of the copilot's position. Nothing happened and the engine continued to run at full power despite its throttle being closed. A recent modification to the idle cut-off switches was designed so that the mixture switch would only cut the engine if the engine power was at idle. But all four throttle levers were already at idle for the landing run yet still the outboard engine was seemingly stuck at full power. The rub was the engine itself was at full power because the throttle linkage had broken and if that happens the engine goes to full power regardless of throttle position. A safety factor said the designer. Some safety factor..

So the copilot tried to turn off the fuel lever off for that engine. That would have worked except it takes time for the fuel to stop flowing to the engine. As a guess about 30 seconds. 30 seconds is a long time if you are starting to ground loop; so scratch the fuel shut-off lever. What about the magneto switches? There are four pairs in a row thoughtfully guarded by a long metal cage to prevent anyone from inadvertently knocking a set of magneto switches to off.

To select one set of magneto switches off the pilot has to lift the guard and find the correct set of the engine mag switches and turn them off. All this while the Lincoln is now off the runway on to the flight strip and the pilot is fighting to stop the aircraft from doing a full circle under the influence of full power on the outboard engine. A tricky proposition.

As it turned out there there was a storm water drain hidden among weeds on the flight strip. It should not have been there as the flight strip is supposed to be obstacle free. But during aerodrome construction the planners were concerned that heavy monsoon rains could flood the runway so they put in a drain in the flight strip. As the aircraft left the runway in a ground-loop(and Darwin was a wide runway even then) one wheel went into the drain which effectively stopped the ground loop in its tracks causing both landing gears to collapse so the Lincoln was left on its guts facing the way it came to land. The back of the aircraft was broken and the crew evacuated the aircraft unhurt. The aircraft was a write off.

Some months after this accident, instructors from the RAAF Central Flying School visited our squadron as part of a general check up on the standard of our pilots. One of them was a RAF pilot on exchange duties with CFS at East Sale in Victoria. He was a cheerful chap with a great sense of humour as I was shortly to find out the hard way. He had flown Spitfires operationally over Europe in WW2 and been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) . When I told him about the mixture control switches on the Long Nose Lincoln he was intrigued. He didn't believe me that you could not cut the engines by the Idle Cut-Out switches (another name for the Mixture switches) unless the throttles were first closed. He was qualified on the Mk 30 (short nose) Lincolns at East Sale where the ICO switches were un-modified. Meaning that in the air you could stop an engine by simply using an idle cut-out switch regardless of throttle position.

He was testing me to renew my instrument rating and sat in the copilot position while I flew from the left seat. Shortly after lift off and while we still had full takeoff power, the instructor tried to fail the No 1 (outboard) engine as part of the test.by switching off the Idle cut-off switch for that engine. Nothing happened of course because our Lincoln had the modified mixture switches. Then to my horror he turned off all the mixture switches in their control box and laughed when all four engines continued to operate normally. Then he played the four switches like a piano turning them on and off to see if any one of them could stop an engine. It was an idiotic thing to do.

There was nothing I could do to stop him from playing silly buggers. Not when we were only a few hundred feet over the water between the aerodrome and Magnetic Island ahead. My rank was a Sergeant and the CFS instructor was a Flight Lieutenant so I had to bite my tongue. A fault in that mixture box could have led to the loss of all four engines. Fortunately that did not happen. After the test was completed he renewed my instrument rating for which I thanked him. I was tempted to say something about the wisdom of his playing around with the mixture switches at a critical time of takeoff but decided to keep my own counsel.

Lincoln crash Darwin runaway throttle

Last edited by Centaurus; 2nd Nov 2020 at 04:19.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 07:56
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Centaurus. Interesting reading indeed. As you part of No.34 Squadron what was your experience of operating the Viscount? Most of the RPT guys from Ansett-ANA and TAA , that operated the type, related that the Cockpit layout was an ergonomic nightmare and the workload was pretty high. My research also indicated that upon retirement from the RAAF the airframes of the two Viscounts only had a total of around 5000hrs each.
As for the DCA Examiners of Airmen in the NSW division in the late 1960's and early seventies/. Many had WW11 experience with either the RAF and or RAAF. Certainly were interesting characters with their own eccentricities. Was tested by a few of them and hopefully if you had a friendly one he would teach you something new at the same time.
As far as I know only one of those Examiners is alive today. Can remember them having a fleet of Merlin and V-Tail Bonanza's at their disposal to visit opererators around NSW for audits and flight tests.
Have always had a passion for the Viscount as it was the first turboprop airliner I flew in as passenger when I was a boy and kept a log of each flight and rego.
Nothing like the sound of those 4 Rolls Royce Darts screaming/whining.
Can remember boarding a TAA Viscount to return to Sydney from the Gold Coast and after startup of no.4 engine the aircraft developed a massive vibration. Engines were shut down and we we asked to return to the terminal. Around an hour or so later the two pilots boarded and ferried it to Brisbane. Am pretty sure it was ferried on three engines.
Hosties stayed with us and served us our meal/refreshements within the terminal. Hours later a F27 arrived to take us back to Sydney.

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Old 1st Nov 2020, 08:00
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Awesome stories, thanks Centaurus- keep them coming!
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 12:43
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As you part of No.34 Squadron what was your experience of operating the Viscount? Most of the RPT guys from Ansett-ANA and TAA , that operated the type, related that the Cockpit layout was an ergonomic nightmare and the workload was pretty high.
The two RAAF Viscounts were beautifully furnished as befit a VIP transport. Pot plants were placed strategically around the cabin. One of the Viscounts had been used to fly the Shah of Persia so you can imagine the lush furnishings. Describing the cockpit as an ergonomic nightmare was spot on but we got used to it. The view out of the cockpit was not that good either. The real winner was the undercarriage design that meant touch downs were usually soft. The controls were heavy but then again we weren't doing steep turns all the time. Stalls were gentle. In short it was a lovely aircraft to fly. It flew well on three engines but needed to be handled carefully if on two engines. Rudder stalling or "tramping" could occur if full rudder was used on two engines. We didn't find the cockpit work load anything unusual despite the plethora of switches.

Squadron crews were sent to Ansett at Essendon in Melbourne for the engineering course which was one month.
The Ansett ground instructors were first class and I learned more about aircraft performance on the Viscount performance course run by Roger Gabriel than all my years in the RAAF where we were usually given a booklet called Pilots Notes for type then go away and fly the aeroplane next day. That is not to criticize the RAAF because that was the way things were both in wartime and peacetime.

The Dart engine lecturer at Ansett was Ray Lancaster. His knowledge and lecture technique was the best I had seen and all done with a marvellous sense of humour. The flying conversion was conducted by RAAF QFI's at Canberra. Squadron Leader John Radford did my Viscount endorsement. He was a fine instructor as was Squadron Leader Barry Gration who later became Chief of the Air Staff RAAF.

There was a RAAF directive that we had to fly 150 hours on type before carrying VIP's so we burned a few air miles doing that.

Last edited by Centaurus; 1st Nov 2020 at 13:32.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 19:58
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I did my Viscount school with Ansett-ANA in 1964 at Essendon.
Can well remember the two fellows you mentioned , Roger Gabriel and Ray Lancaster both exceptionally well regarded and had so much knowledge of their subjects.
In later years during our B727 ground school Ray's famous words when discussing an intricate part of a fuel system was that after fuel passed this piece it went into a " PFM Box ".
PFM stood for " Pretty Fuc#ing Magic " and that's all you need to know about it.
Things were quite different in the early days as we were taught every detail of the system which was too much info.
Exams were all hand written with NO multi choice questions at all and the school on the B727 took 6 weeks , can't remember the Viscount school but it was a long time.
How things have changed!!!!
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 00:20
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I remember seeing this accident at Mangalore as a 6 year old child.
The memory has stayed with me all these years.
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 10:41
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Thanks very much for your information. I very much enjoy your wise input and the style with which you deliver it.

Green.Dot, I have never conducted a three engine take-off for real, only in the simulator. l have however conducted many windmill taxi starts in the legacy C130 which I believe may have some similarities to the Viscount. The windmill taxi start for a C130 is more difficult from a controllability perspective than a three engine take-off. The procedure is usually conducted when an engine starter is U/S. Basically the engine to be started has it's prop blade moved out of feather to approximately 50 degrees blade angle or 'cuffed' The aircraft is then accelerated down the runway using the available engines and at approximately 90K the engine windmills up and being a single shaft engine, fuel and ignition occurs and hopefully it starts as the aircraft is safely aborted. The increased drag from the windmilling propeller makes it more of a handful from a control perspective than the three engine takeoff with a feathered propeller.

The golden rule for a C130 windmill taxi start is 'don't get airborne'. A USAF C130 whilst attempted one suffered a runway departure and got airborne. Fortunately, apart from hitting some approach lighting they lived to tell the tale.

The main issue is the non linear relationship between throttle movement and engine horsepower/torque. We used to demonstrate this right at the start by getting the student to push up the two symmetrical engines and note the affect. Initially there was a dead space and towards the top end of movement the throttles were very sensitive. I suspect that the RR Dart would be pretty awful in this area. We also set full nose down trim and pushed the yoke forward. We used to demonstrate the windmill taxi start with No.1 engine since it was the critical engine. We would get Bloggs to set the inboards to takeoff power and then push up No.4 until it was out of the dead area. You could hear the prop start to govern. We would brief Bloggs to put in almost full right rudder and hold only light nosewheel steering pressure. The idea was that when the airflow over the rudder started to yaw the aircraft to the right, No.4 was pushed up to counter this and keep the aircraft straight. At about 90K you would push the engine up to match the other two. The abort criteria was 100K or 4,000ft to run. The technique briefed was to abort slowly. This firstly, enabled the engine time above 90K which keep it accelerating and secondly, meant that the instructor had time to recognise if Bloggs hadn't taken the rudder out. No NWS in the right hand seat for the instructor. If the engine was going to 'hang' it happened as you were working hard and busy trying to stop.

As with most things there was lots that Bloggs could get wrong. Inadvertently jabbing the brakes whilst trying to keep straight usually killed off the acceleration and meant you where aborting with not enough speed to start the engine. Over controlling on nose wheel steering could be problematic. Our Kiwi mates had someone wind in almost full nose wheel steering at 100K. Luckily it just smoked and grenaded both nose wheels and damaged the nosewheel assembly. The momentum kept it going straight. The most common fault if someone was not adequately instructed was not getting No.4 out of the dead range and as they rolled down the runway they drifted right and then pushed the throttle up quicker. The result was that at ~60K the engine bit and the aircraft yawed quickly to the left. This is possibly what happen to the Viscount crew.

All RAAF C130 crews were trained and authorised to conduct three engine takeoffs out of Phnom Penh in Cambodia during operations in 1993 rather than leave an aircraft requiring an engine change. Luckily it wasn't required.

From a handling point of view the C130 three engine takeoff is easier than the windmill taxi start. The C130J on the other hand is a dream. Firstly, it for most weights can takeoff just on the symmetrical engines. With it's Automatic Thrust Control System (ATCS) the stretched aircraft limits the outboard engine to 60% thrust at 70K ramping up to takeoff power at 140K. This results in pretty much a constant foot load throughout. Have to respect progress!

RIP to an experienced crew on the Viscount.
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 12:50
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Centaurus. Thank you so much for the response. Had never heard of the expression 'tramping before.' So just learnt some new lingo.
If my memory serves me correctly I can remember that when the main wheels were extended a small tube extended on the upper surface of the wing.
Must have interesting logging up 150hrs on type before being able to carry VIP's.
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 18:55
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Originally Posted by Anti Skid On View Post
No apology needed, stories like this make PPRuNe a more interesting place
Gidday Centaurus.

I may have mentioned this in a previous thread. I was chatting to an elderly gentleman during a turnaround some years ago. He mentioned that he flew Lincolns back in the day. I had just read your book and asked “Laurie” if he remembered that particular Townsville crash. He replied with a wry smile and said, remember it, I was the pilot under instruction!

Absolutely made my day.
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 08:50
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Originally Posted by Green.Dot View Post
Wow- sounds like a pretty high workload.

Thank god we can use sims for engine out training now.
Well yes sims have been around for sometime now but there are some operators still want to behave like cowboys as Centaurus mentions,
A few years ago now while working for a small Pacific Island outfit, the airlines Administrators decided they would no longer pay for sim training since the crews did it just a few months previous. So the flight ops guys decided we would do our renewals iin the aircraft at a nearby airport a few hours prior to a scheduled service. So off we would go, a training captain and two or three candidates. ILS and land, depart with V1 cut, fly wide circuit @2000' and complete checks, now toss in hydraulic failure by turning off A & B system pumps, these would be restored when appropriate QRH items complete, S/E approach and land to full stop and new candidate to slip into seat for a repeat performance. This persisted for about 18 months until those same Administrators decided they now would no longer pay for Jeppensen chart subscription as the old charts were still in good condition.

When most of the pilots objected to this all hell broke loose, but there were some who were quoted as saying that these were only "perceived" safety issues.
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 09:21
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Originally Posted by deja vu View Post
A few years ago now while working for a small Pacific Island outfit, the airlines Administrators decided they would no longer pay for sim training since the crews did it just a few months previous. ....This persisted for about 18 months until those same Administrators decided they now would no longer pay for Jeppensen chart subscription as the old charts were still in good condition.

When most of the pilots objected to this all hell broke loose, but there were some who were quoted as saying that these were only "perceived" safety issues.
I say name and shame to carrier (so we can avoid at all costs)
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