Wisbech landmarks helped aircraft navigate after electrical failure

Cambridge Airport

Cambridge Airport - Credit: Archant

RECOGNISING landmarks around Wisbech got an aircraft crew out of trouble after their machine suffered a complete electrical failure last summer, it was revealed this week.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has just issued a report about an Beech B200 Super King that was making its way to Cambridge Airport after completing a communications task for the 2012 Olympic Games. when the incident happened on July 28.

Losing electrical power meant the aircraft lost radio contact with air traffic control, but the standby compass remained operational.

The report says: “As the aircraft approached the Wisbech area, the commander recognised some land features. The aircraft descended to 5,000 feet, from where the crew were able to identify additional landmarks and navigate visually towards Cambridge Airport.

“By this time, the aircraft had been flying for some time without electrical power and therefore without fuel gauges, and the crew was concerned about the aircraft’s remaining endurance.”

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Arriving near Cambridge, the plane circled to alert air traffic controllers, and as then used the manual landing gear extension procedure to lower the landing gear. The gear collapsed during the landing and the aircraft came to a halt on the runway.

The report concludes: “The investigation was unable to determine the cause of the electrical failure and no fault was found with the landing gear system. It is possible that the crew did not operate the alternate extension system sufficiently to fully extend the landing gear prior to landing.”

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