Saturday, February 24, 2018

Consolidated B-24J Liberator "Witchcraft": Incident occurred February 24, 2018 at Cecil Airport (KVQQ), Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida

A World War II bomber in Jacksonville for an aviation exhibition was forced to circle Cecil Airport for about an hour Saturday morning because of landing gear problems.

The B-24 named Witchcraft ultimately landed safely. None of the three crew members nor six passengers on board were injured, said Michael Stewart, spokesman for Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

The last Liberator that can still fly is part of the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour, which is spending the weekend at the Jacksonville Jet Port at the airport.

A Times-Union message seeking comment from Collings Foundation officials wasn’t returned by 7 p.m. Saturday.

Stewart said the warbird’s crew notified the airport about 10 a.m. that the landing gear wouldn’t deploy.

“They were up in the air for an additional hour as they attempted to lower the landing gear,” said Stewart, noting the flight carrying exhibition visitors normally is about 30 minutes.

The aircraft circled for about an hour — using up fuel as a precaution should it become necessary to make an emergency landing with some or all of the landing gear unable to deploy. Stewart said also as a precaution, the airport scrambled its emergency first responders, but they didn’t have to put any foam on the runway.

Stewart confirmed the warbird is equipped with a manual crank system to lower the landing gear in case of a hydraulic failure.

“They were able to get the main gear down and locked in place. It took them a little longer to get the nose gear down and locked in place,” said Stewart, noting the plane landed without incident about 11:30 a.m.

He said he didn’t know what caused the problem.


Original article can be found here ➤  http://www.jacksonville.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A WWII bomber participating in an aviation exhibition at Cecil Airport safely landed Saturday after experiencing landing gear issues in flight, officials said. 

The B-24 Liberator reportedly had issues lowering its nose gear and was forced to circle the airport for over an hour while sorting out the issue, according to airport officials. 

Airport officials said they were notified about 9:58 a.m. The bomber was carrying two crew members and five passengers. The flight was offered to exhibition visitors as part of the show. 

Officials said the bomber landed safely about 11:35 a.m. The B-24 is equipped with a manual crank to lower landing gear in case of hydraulic failures. 

The pilots circled the airport to burn fuel in case they were unable to lower the landing gear. In the instance that the gear couldn't be lowered, the pilots would have performed an emergency landing in the grass next to the runway.  

News4Jax spoke to passenger Heather Graves, who said she was not nervous because of the pilots' demeanor. 

"At first, we realized something was going on, but didn’t get nervous because you knew that the pilots knew what they were doing," Graves said. "Once you realized they we're going to fly around and burn off fuel, you got extra time in the air, you knew it was awesome." 

Officials with the exhibition said they are working to get rides for people who want to still ride the aircraft. 

The B-24 was flown in Friday by the Collins Foundation to support the living history event. The aircraft is billed as the last flying B-24 in the world. All others are on display at museums.  

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.news4jax.com

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