Pat Hatch's PhotoJournal A blog about photography & other musings…

Fire in Flight – Page 7.

I remember thinking, I'll be damned if I'm going to burn alive in here after what we just went through.  It appeared that we were trapped inside the airplane, but as I opened the pilot's side window I began to sense the fire was receding.  I quickly got about halfway out the window and realized I still had my headset on.  I threw the headset back into the airplane, grabbed the pitot tube mast and slid down to the ground.  I ran like hell through the fire and came upon the rest of the crew a few yards in front of the airplane.  It was a scene of pandemonium as we celebrated our survival and as the fire department arrived and began battling the fire.

Fig. 10 - Fire crew arrives, crew is out of the airplane

Fig. 10 - Fire crew arrives, crew is out of the airplane

Fig. 11 - Fire crew battling the blaze.  #3 and #4 engines without props.

Fig. 11 - Fire crew battling the blaze. #4 engine is resting on the raised-gravel helicopter landing pad without its prop.

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  1. What a great job of superior airmanship !! I flew in Vietnam as well and can really appreciate what this flight crew was going through. Keep ’em flying!!

  2. I am hear to say a great job to all of your crew, it took a lot of skill as well as luck to pull it off as a good landing(any one you can walk away from), my hat is off to all of you god was with you all.

  3. I’m an old “B” Model Driver- 772 TCS at Sewart and Langley, later 313 TCW at Forbes. I was also- through coincidences of time and space rather than superior airmanship- an AC and IP before I made Captain. At one point, my CP, Nav, and I were all 1/Lts., the FE was an A1c, and the LM a A2c. We were the cheapest working Crew in TAC!

    I have always felt guilty about not going to Nam. Pan Am looked like a good deal (shows how well my crystal ball works). They later sold me to United, where I retired as a 777 Captain. Hadn’t had enough fun yet, so I flew Falcon 2000’s for another 10 years at Netjets. 30,000 hours, 49 Jumps (Forest Service, Military, Sport)…..

    Your story reminds me of something my first IP told me at Willie in UPT- if they find you dead in the cockpit, you’d better have a hand on the stick and the other on the throttles- not over your eyes. Just keep on working with what you have left to work with- never give up

  4. I think it was Bob Hoover who said “If you know you’re going to crash, fly the airplane as far into the crash as you can.” Sounds like what you guys did. Great work. Most of my flying time was piston engine, EC-121, C-118,C-54, UC-123, but my last job was EC-130s at Keesler. The one thing I always loved about the 123 Provider was that with the flip of 4 switches I could get rid of ALL fuel and make it a glider.

  5. Great job holding the ship together. C-139 E Loadmaster 777th TCS.

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