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Convair B-58 Hustler Emergency Landing - 1961

On September 18, 1961 a routine training mission using a Convair B-58 Hustler supersonic jet prepared for takeoff from the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) base at Carswell. As the aircraft began rotation the left main gear suffered a major failure, with debris tearing a hole in the aft main pod causing 15,000 lbs of fuel being "lit off" by the afterburners as the plane lifted from the runway.

Damage to the plane prevented the landing gear from being raised, and also caused problems when attempting to perform in-air refueling. The skilled crew were able to devise a plan that allowed the plane to refuel at around 11,00 feet and speed 300 knots by using all four engines in afterburner mode, with the inboard engines being used to position the aircraft. This proceedure was repeated 8 times during the night before a landing attempt could be made at Edwards AFB.

The runway at Edwards AFB was prepared for the emergency landing by spraying foam, and emergency vehicles then waited for the crippled B-58 to land. A chase plane had been able to confirm the extent of damage to the B-58's landing gear - only 3 of 8 wheels were still intact on the left main gear!.

 
Last updated October 03, 2015
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