3 outta 4 ain’t bad…

A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 suffered a main landing gear failure on takeoff from London Gatwick Airport today. After burning off excess fuel and troubleshooting the problem, it returned to Gatwick, landing safely with only three of its four main landing gear extended.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoWS_SHe4gU?feature=player_embedded]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLpRu1EzyGE?feature=player_embedded]

Man, does that look weird or what?

We’re delighted that it landed safely, and that the aircraft was able to remain upright on only three mounts, in spite of the failed mount being one of outboard mains. Had the jet tipped over, the danger would be the engine or wingtip digging in and either causing the wing to fail, thus rupturing the fuel tanks, or spinning the aircraft violently at fairly high speed, with likely the same result. As it is, both the plane and its human cargo are both safe.

H/T: The Aviationist.

Charter Cargo B747 Crash At Bagram

No sign of enemy action, in spite of what the Taliban may claim. Some reports of a load shift changing the center of gravity. That fits the video, but it is hardly conclusive. Other issues could include a faulty configuration for take-off or crew error.  The B747-400F normally has an operating crew of 2, but this aircraft has 7 souls on board. All were lost.

[Update: Welcome, Ace of Spades Morons- Poke around a bit.]

[Update 2- Welcome Hot Air readers]

Here’s the Aviation Safety Network post with some background on the incident aircraft, carrier, airport and the incident itself.