Friday, 18 December 2009

Crash landing at Port San Carlos



extract from 1 Squadron Falklands war diary

"...Mark Hare and I are programmed to mount Ground Alert at the FOB. I have aircraft XZ989 which is carrying a number of known defects. On take-off I have to go through the limiter to avoid sinking off the ramp.

At the FOB I misjudge the height going across the side of the pad and lift some of the metal. I overshoot in order to see what damage has been done and at about 90kts there is a marked drop in thrust which is not corrected by pushing through the limiter. As a result of the rate of descent and the fact that I am pointing directly at a Rapier FU, I elect not to eject and the aircraft hits the ground very hard - the undercarriage is broken off and canopy broken. The aircraft, still under power, comes to a rest at the end of the strip, whereupon I shut the engine down and vacate. Sid Morris is quite surprised to see me.

Mark Hare orbits until the pad is clear of metal and then lands, refuels and returns to Hermes. Flt Sgt Cowburn who has spent some time at the FOB starts robbing the aircraft of valuable spares while I catch a chopper down to Fearless in San Carlos Water. There I have a good chat with Wg Cdr Fred Travers who has been manning the ASOC. We discuss the tasking net with regard to communications and priorities.

I spend some time with Captain Jeremy Larkins on the bridge. Clearly he is a superb leader and whenever the ship comes under attack he dons a flack jacket and gives a running commentary over the PA. Plymouth is hit at the entrance to the Sound and limps in for damage control. I spend a couple of hours on the Wardroom floor with Lt Cdr (Surgeon) Rick Jolly. However, he is called away once news is heard of the attack on Galahad and Tristram at Bluff Cove. The plan is for me to transfer to Intrepid after dark and return by sea to Hermes. However, while transferring to Intrepid the plan is cancelled as Intrepid is to go to Bluff Cove to help rescue operations. I therefore return to Fearless where I spend the night.

Ross Boyens and Nick Gilchrist arrive on Hermes with 2 more aircraft. We now have 4 with ALE 40 and the active I-Band jammer and one aircraft capable of firing Shrike ARMs..."

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