doesn’t look quite so crazy. The rear engine
was running cool and we were making
about 120 knots easily. What the hey, let’s
head for the barn!
My student took up a heading along the
interstate highway. He figured he’d have a
good place to park it in case the rear engine
quit. I sat back and relaxed. Most of my 20
years of flying had been in single-engine airplanes having less performance than this
bird had on one. It felt to me like a strictly
About halfway home, the rear tach kept
sagging, and the LEDs on the one radio we
were using started to dim. Nothing usable
was coming in over the nav or the comm.
The small amount of reserve juice we had in
the battery was fast leaving us.
HOW DOES THE GEAR WORK?
I looked at the gear handle. It looked like
an electrical switch. I started searching
my memory for what I knew about getting
the wheels out in 337s. “How’s the gear
work?” I asked.
“It’s hydraulic, run by an electrical
pump,” he said. “We have a hand pump
that’ll get ’em down if there’s not enough
juice left in the battery.”
“Yeah, but what I want to know is, does it
take electricity to initiate the emergency
“Gee, you’ve got me,” he replied. Both of
us highly qualified push-pull Cessna pilots
thought we knew how the system worked,
but neither of us did.
“What I want to know is, does
it take electricity to initiate the
emergency extension cycle?”
very dim green lights indicating that the
wheels were down and locked.
Unfortunately, the gear doors, about 80
percent of the rear of the fuselage,
remained open. Evidently, electricity was
required to close them, and the battery
didn’t have enough energy left to pull them
in against the slipstream.
We were about 10 miles from home,
descending a little less than 200 feet per
minute. I started looking at Interstate 10, the
swamp, and Lake Pontchartrain—our three
choices for forced landing sites.
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