Monday, March 8, 2010

Aircraft Recovery...

It was a very busy week.

Monday, while standing in line outside for chow, an Airbus A300 flew over our heads at about 300ft above the ground, traveling perpendicular to the runway. We realized, it was probably buzzing the tower for a visual on the landing gear (they probably had an indication that something wasn’t right). Within a few minutes, we received a call on our cell phone about a faulted landing. The left main landing gear collapsed when it hit the ground. The video and pictures I've included will give you a pretty good idea.

We scrambled to gather equipment and rolled out to the scene. The EOC (Emergency Operations Center) & (Unit Control Centers) UCCs were activated. All crew and passengers were ok and offloaded down the egress slide. We laid down some AM-2 matting (basically it’s interlocking aluminum planks) to get the fuel trucks through the mud to defuel the plane. The runway was re-opened that afternoon with wingspan restrictions.

Tuesday, they got the cargo door open and we offloaded the plane. Since the nose gear had ended up on the edge of the pavement, and the tail was still down in the ditch, the aircraft was pitched up at about a 20 degree angle. This meant we had to manually push all the pallets from the back of the plane, uphill, to the cargo door. One pallet weighed 12,000lbs. It took a lot of teamwork for us to make this happen; it was a major accomplishment. We had the plane unloaded by the end of the day.

Wednesday, the objective was to move the plane up onto the adjacent taxiway. We provided more AM-2 matting and equipment to assist with the move. Since the right elevator was still over the pavement it was restricting wide-body aircraft from our airfield. With a lot of pulling power and a crane, they were able to move the aircraft out of the mud. All this in addition to all the projects we were already engaged in.

It was a very busy week.

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