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Neptune Crash At Reno

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Neptune Crash At Reno

Old 2nd Sep 2008, 10:32
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Neptune Crash At Reno

Reports that a Neptune firebomber has crashed at Reno, reportedly took off had an engine problem and crashed on airport perimeter whilst trying to return. Three POB all killed.
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Old 2nd Sep 2008, 14:42
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The plane in question had been actively fighting a major forest fire south of lake tahoe.

It had landed at Reno Stead (home of the reno air races) to refuel/re retardent. After takeoff the plane hit some power lines, cutting power to some 1700 homes.

The NTSB is on its way to investigate. It crashed about 5:30 pm local time (daylight).

The wx was beautiful, clear, some wind, temps in the low 70's (f)

This all from local tv reports in reno.

for our international friends, Reno is in the state of nevada, USA.
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Old 2nd Sep 2008, 21:15
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Condolences to friends and family.

Id hate to think that we only notice the passing of our colleagues in the RPT sector. They made the sacrifice doing a tough job.
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Old 3rd Sep 2008, 01:33
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Loss of Neptune

Very sad news. Brought back memories of the loss of RAAF P2V-5 at RAAF Richmond, February 1959. A failure of a Power Recovery Turbine caused a wing fire which burnt through the spar. Aircraft crashed within sight of the airfield killing all 10 aboard. R.I.P.

Last edited by Old Fella; 3rd Sep 2008 at 05:15.
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Old 3rd Sep 2008, 15:03
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I remember that. In those days the Neptune was not fitted with engine fire exxtinguishers. A Meteor pilot (Bill Monaghan I think) saw the flames streaming back over the wing and tail and urged the Neptune to get back on the deck quick. The wing folded and that was that. It was one of those awful decisions of should the pilot try and reach the airfield before a wing might fold or do you force land it into nearest flat surface while you have control. The Ansett Winton Viscount crash was similar except it was at night when the fire took hold from a faulty air conditioning compressor I recall. The wing went while the pilot Ken May was trying to get to Winton airfield.

One reason why if you get a cabin or electrical fire at high altitude cruise it might pay to get the aircraft into an immediate emergency descent while fire fighting is taking place, rather than leave the decision to descend until too late.
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Old 3rd Sep 2008, 15:57
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some neptunes are fitted with aux jet engines

it is being reported in reno that the jet engine caught on fire

we shall see


many pilots have forgotten the art of an off airport landing as a precaution...not meant in this case!
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Old 3rd Sep 2008, 19:23
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perhaps someone can post a nice picture of a neptune with aux jet engines...as most of you know, some piston prop planes were fitted jet engines to help during takeoff or other high power/speed needs.

the most famous is perhaps the B36 bomber, with 6 prop/piston engines and 4 jet engines. jets can use gasoline by the way.

and here is a story indicating that the plane's JET engine caught fire, causing the wing to fail.


September 3, 2008

Engine fire led to plane crash

Staff and wire reports

A jet engine fire engulfed the wing of an air tanker moments after takeoff, sending the plane rolling into the ground at Reno Stead Airport and killing all three members of the aerial firefighting crew, a federal investigator said Tuesday.

The twin-engine Lockheed P2V-7 aircraft, which was on the way to drop retardant on a California wildfire, was 100 to 300 feet off the ground when it went into a roll and crashed within seconds 1.5 miles from the airport at 6:09 p.m. Monday, said Tom Little, lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Little said nothing indicated pilot error played a role in the crash.

"Two witnesses confirmed the fire was from the jet engine," Little told reporters Tuesday night at a briefing at the airport north of Reno.

Investigators recovered several large pieces of metal beginning about one-quarter mile north of the runway that appear to have come from the burning engine, he said.

"It appears it had disintegrated and subsequently left the aircraft. We know there was a fire on board the aircraft," Little said.

"We just are at a loss right now as to why, No. 1, the engine caught on fire and, No. 2, what caused the loss of control of the aircraft?" he said. "That is what the focus of the investigation will be over the next six to nine months."

Casey Meaden, who lives near the airport, said she heard the plane and was watching it take off when she noticed the engine on the plane's left side was on fire.

"It didn't seem like he was getting much altitude," she said Tuesday. "It was a little while after it got into the air. I could see it was off the ground. I said, 'Oh, my God! That thing is on fire.'"

Adding to the tragedy was the fact that the order for the tanker to make a retardant drop apparently was canceled at about the time of the crash.

"The resource order was canceled about the same time the incident occurred," Marnie Bonesteel, a spokeswoman with the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, said. "They were fully fueled and did have a full load of retardant as well."

The Lockheed P2V -- built in 1962 and sold to its current owners in 1993 -- had flown one drop on the Burnside Fire south of Lake Tahoe earlier Monday and was one of two tankers called out for the Smitty Fire in Calaveras County area. The other tanker dropped its load, and fire crews decided the tanker from Stead was no longer needed, Bonesteel said.

The fire in West Point, Calif., was fully contained at 50 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Web site.

The Washoe County medical examiner's staff has made a tentative identification and notified the families but is awaiting fingerprint confirmation before releasing the names.

The aircraft was one of 11 or 12 under contract to the U.S. Forest Service from Neptune Aviation Services of Missoula, Mont., Ron DeHart, an information officer at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, said.

The Forest Service grounded 33 air tankers in May 2004 after a report from the National Transportation Safety Board said it was not known whether several types of air tankers were safe. The report was prompted by the crash of three C-130 air tankers.

Neptune Aviation had several aircraft grounded by the decision. It couldn't be confirmed that the plane that crashed Monday was one of them.

Neptune Aviation Chief Executive Officer Mark Timmons said investigators were on their way Tuesday to the crash site.

"We don't have anybody on the ground yet," he said. "We don't have any questions answered at this point."

He said the company's other two fatal crashes in 1994 and 1998 were caused by pilot error.

The Forest Service hired Texas-based DynCorp to inspect 33 aerial tankers and it finished its inspection of the P2V aircraft in July 2004 and found no problems. The Forest Service waited before returning the aircraft to action in part because they wanted to determine how long the aircraft could be used if they were doing stress-inducing missions like carrying slurry.

DeHart said Tuesday there were no plans to ground any air tankers following Monday's crash.

The P2V aircraft carry up to 2,500 gallons of fire retardant and is among the larger air tankers the Forest Service uses routinely, DeHart said.

Officials said 27 people have died since 1991 in crashes of firefighting air tankers in the U.S.

About 25 members of the Washoe County Sheriff Office's search and rescue team were combing the runway and neighboring area Tuesday afternoon for any airplane parts or other clues that would help determine the cause of the crash, Deputy Darrin Rice said.

"We're looking for anything related to that air crash and why the plane crashed," he said.

Rice said NTSB investigators told him they were in the process of determining whether the eyewitness accounts were credible.

"Investigators need to determine who saw it -- pre-crash and crash and debris field," he said.

The crash near Reno sparked a two-acre brush fire that was quickly extinguished. Sheriff's deputies cordoned off the site overnight.

Gazette-Journal reporter Steve Timko contributed to this story.

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Old 10th Sep 2008, 20:55
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NTSB preliminary
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Old 10th Sep 2008, 22:48
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perhaps someone can post a nice picture of a neptune with aux jet engines...
Here's a picture of the accident aircraft.

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