Gear coming down when shot down?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Bad-Karma, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Bad-Karma

    Bad-Karma Member

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    Hey Guys,

    I've been reading a lot of encounter reports and noticed a pattern of enemies landing gear coming down before they bail out. Was this due to damage received or did this somehow steady the plane making for an easier bail out?

    Thanks
     
  2. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I have just always assumed that it was caused buy damage that was being inflicted. I would imagine it would take a smooth character to have that kind of cool to drop the gear while having the plane shot out from under me.
     
  3. Bad-Karma

    Bad-Karma Member

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    Thats what I figured initially too but i've come across it enough times that it made me question if there was something more to it. P.S. what part of long island are you from? I'm originally from Queens but lived in Roslyn for a few years before moving down south.
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Probably hydraulics shot out, causing the gear to drop, or, if an emergency landing gear air bottle is fitted and hit or damaged, that could force the gear down too.
    However, lowering the landing gear is, or was, supposed to be an international sign of surrender or compliance, and it may be that, in some instances at least, this was a last desperate act, before the pilot realised it was too late, and then hopped over the side!
    Also, in some aircraft, it could be possible to accidentally activate the gear whilst in the process of bailing out. For example, on the Spitfire, the undercarriage lever was/is on the starboard wall, and was a lever with a short, protruding handle. When the gear is in the 'Down' position, the lever is down, and vice versa. Exiting the cockpit in a hurry, via the small hatch on the port side, it would be possible to accidentally kick the lever down. The opposite happened to the 'Grace' two-seat Spitfire a few years ago, when one of the sponsor's executives was given a ride. On landing, having been instructed to move his feet and legs clear of the rudder pedals and stick, he caught the gear lever with his right knee as the aircraft touched down, whereupon the aircraft gently settled on its belly!
    After repair, a safety guard was fitted to the landing gear lever in the rear cockpit !
     
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  5. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Not sure about other types, but the P-51 undercarriage was held up by hydraulic pressure, apparently for the reason that if there was any damage, it would come down, rather than jamming up. That's why you always see them with the landing gear doors open, on shut-down they will open, and close again when the engine starts.
     
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  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Gymbyk is 100% correct. some aircraft will even have uplocks that are hydraulically engaged, lose pressure anywhere in the system and the uplocks will disengage, gear will come down.
     
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  7. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    There's also the possibility of it being used as an airbrake, slowing the aircraft so there's less chance of hitting the fin/tailplane when departing.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #8 FLYBOYJ, Mar 2, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
    I doubt that. Many fighter flight manuals/ pilot notes have specific bail out procedures, I've yet to see one that mentioned to lower the gear during egress. I think the priority would be to get out quick, especially if you're on fire
     
  9. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I read of one German Bomber that lowered the wheels as a sign of surrender over the North Sea.
     
  10. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Although, in a real situation, I'm not sure if I'd like the effect that would have on my glide ratio.
     
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  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    That's one thing, I think we're looking at the gear coming down after an aircraft is damaged.

    And to add on to my earlier comment - if I was preparing to bail out at 350 mph, I wouldn't want to thing what else would happen if I lower the landing gear in excess of maximum landing gear operation speed (VLE)
     
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  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    It would seem to me that in the event of an intercept and you were not in a position to engage, lowering the gear as a sign of surrender or distress *may* avoid attack.

    However, if you're in a Fw190 (for example) and a P-47 is already ripping you to shreds, lowering the gear is probably not going to get the jug's driver to stop the attack. That point has already come and gone.

    At the war's end, an Axis aircraft approaching an Allied field with gear down were allowed to pass unmolested, but in battle, most often when the gear was "lowered", it was because the aircraft had been damaged to the point where the hydraulic (or compressed air) system had been damaged (as stated above).

    A Bf109's bailout procedure was to jettison the canopy and "invert" or roll the aircraft, falling free of the cockpit. It was also a recommended procedure for Spitfire pilots to do the same: undo seat harness, raise seat, unplug oxygen and mic leads, release canopy, stand up on the seat and either push the control column forward or roll (invert) the aircraft and dive away. On the otherhand, the P-38 pilots were taught NOT to invert when bailing.
     
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  13. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    A trick 109 pilots used to use over Malta was to drop their gear and pretend to be Spitfires in the landing circuit - before shooting a landing aircraft or strafing the field.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #15 FLYBOYJ, Mar 2, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Man that cannonfire was tearing those crates up.

    On that first target, the gear certainly came down after some serious hits, but it seemed to me that there was no lock and just hung limp. I replayed that part over several times to be sure, but it's hard to tell for certain.
     
  17. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    The Hurricane's landing gear doesn't come down that fast when operated properly. The hydraulics were almost certainly shot out.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    There's a few more around from WW2 and from the Korean War where MiG-15s were dropping their gear when hit.
     
  19. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I live in Wantagh, the gateway to Jones Beach. Or as I call it, "The jewel in the crown that is Long Island". Had Easter brunch at the George Washington Inn one time, that's in Roslyn right?
     
  20. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    Not to hijack the thread but I'm originally from Flushing in Queens,we used to love West End 2 at Jones beach.
     
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