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ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTSFrom CP54, Page 8 (January, 1988)
An Anchorage, Alaska
Long-EZ pilot took off from Merrill Field one afternoon with about 2 hours fuel on board.
He flew to nearby Birchwood airport where he practiced takeoffs and landings for almost an
hour. Then he headed back to Merrill Field at 2000 feet (required to cross above the
approach corridor at Elmendorf Airforce Base). He intended to switch tanks over Elmendorf,
but when he ran into low ceilings and had to descend to 600 feet to cross under the
approach corridor, he forgot. During the descent 7ro-m 2000 feet to 600 feet, he was at
hard idle and was cleared for a straight-in to Merrill Field's runway 18. Seeing that he
was going to be a little bit short, he added power only to find that the engine had quit.
Too late to switch tanks and restart, he was committed. A tiny
550 foot long empty lot was in front of him and he went for it. Nose gear down, landing
brake down, and put it down firmly on the end, too short to finesse the touchdown. The
nose gear NG-15A casting failed and the nose gear strut dug into the soft field. He
rolled/slid only 225 feet! The Long-EZ stopped short of a chain link fence between the
empty lot and 5th Avenue's busy traffic in downtown Anchorage! No other damage occurred to
the plane or pilot.
This pilot's recommendation, based on this incident? Post a
landing checklist on the panel and use it religiously every time you land - a very good
suggestion. This is at 7ea-st the second time an incident such as this has occurred with
Long-EZs. Good as they are, they can not fly if the pilot screws up. Learn from this close
call and use your check list. You may not be as lucky or as skilled as this Alaska pilot.