Friday, September 11, 2015

A narrow escape for a vintage flying boat

The Dornier Do 24 was a pre-World War II flying boat designed for anti-submarine and search and rescue duties.  It saw service throughout the war, mostly in the German armed forces, but also serving the Dutch in the Far East during their brief war against Japanese invaders.  Thereafter the survivors served in Australia until the end of the war.  Its design was not dissimilar to the famous Consolidated PBY Catalina of the same vintage.

Late last century one of the few surviving Do 24's was re-engined with turboprops, and used by Dornier to test the Advanced Technology Wing that was designed for the Do 228 transport.  Since then it's been flown by a foundation in support of UNICEF and other charitable causes, piloted by Iren Dornier, grandson of the founder of Dornier Aviation.

Last month, at the 2015 Scalaria Air Challenge in Austria, the plane suffered a mishap.  It was landing in perfect weather when the pilots noticed an obstacle on the surface of the water.  They tried to make an emergency turn to avoid it, but the aircraft was moving too fast to respond properly, and spun completely around.  The skin suffered damage, and some of the frames and spars will have to be inspected in detail to make sure she's still airworthy without more extensive repairs.

Here's a video clip of the incident.  The title's completely wrong:  whoever put it up seems to have thought this was a stunt, when in fact it was an extremely dangerous situation that could have resulted in deaths, injuries or the loss of the plane.  Also, they had to add a music soundtrack . . . when will people learn that music is often more of a distraction than an aid to watching?  At any rate, it shows the incident very clearly.  Watch in full-screen mode to see all the details.

I think the crew of the Do 24 were very lucky indeed.  I'm glad so historic an aircraft survived, and will be flying again soon, all being well.



Old NFO said...

Woof, lucky they didn't hang a tip and buckle the wing/flip it inverted.

Will said...

Lots of flap span on that new wing. Can't tell what the original wing had.
The PBY's never had them, for some unknown reason. Seems like an odd choice to not equip with flaps. I would think the less time/distance needed to get off/onto the water would be a safer objective.

m4 said...

Certainly came off better than that PBY that was destroyed during filming recently. Did you see it? Took on some water and they brought in a salvage crew, who promptly forgot that it wasn't a boat, hoisted it like a boat, and cut it in half.

Jim22 said...

Quite a testament to the strength of the airframe.

I wonder about the repowering to turboprops. Do you have any idea if they significantly increased the power by doing so? I have heard and read that at least one company that pot turbos on the Grumman Goose showed them off by taking off on one engine.

The Dornier looks a little weird with three engines.

Anonymous said...

Almost caught that wingtip there....
Gorgeous plane, I didn't know any still existed.