HomeWelcomeUpdatesCompanyAircraftPeopleProjectsEquipmentOperationsPhoto AlbumGuest BookSearchAdastrianaQuestions


by Wal Bowles


Operating out of Roma in southern Queensland, on 19 March 1961 about midway along a survey run there was a sudden explosive sound of escaping air. Maurie Miller was the technician attending to the magnetometer trace and Bob (“Yippee”) Rennick was the navigator. If we were enjoying the sunrise, this rush of escaping air brought us back to a situation which needed resolution. I realised it had to be the pneumatic system which had blown a seal somewhere (confirmed by the zero reading on the pneumatic gauge) and that we would have no brakes on landing. Rather than terminate the flight, we continued to get as many line miles as the onset of turbulence would allow and then headed for our base, Roma. Tail wheeled aircraft are inherently unstable directionally on the ground and Anson aircraft were as unstable directionally on the ground as any aircraft I have flown. I was concerned that I could easily damage the landing gear if, without brakes, I groundlooped during the landing run. Overflying the field, which had landing strips which crossed at rightangles, I checked the wind socks and chose to land towards the east, which was most into wind. I got Yippee to pump the hydraulic flaps down fully while well back on final approach so that I could adjust my landing approach and land perhaps a little slower than normal. Also, rather than stop both engines together as was normal with a centrally located fuel cut off handle, I tried to maintain directional control until the aircraft had slowed to a reasonable speed by shutting down one engine with magneto switches. Hopefully, without brakes, this would delay the inevitable ground loop until the aircraft had slowed to a speed which may not damage the landing gear - or worse. After touchdown and approaching the intersection of the strips the aircraft began to swing to the left. I had moved the gang switch down (which normally keeps all four magneto switches up in the “on” position) to allow me to operate the magneto switches independently and, as soon as the aircraft began to swing to the left I turned off the magneto switches of the starboard engine. I arrested the swing to the left with the application of a small amount of power on the left engine, and I kept the aircraft moving to the left, clear of the strip. Coincidentally, I was pointing across the field towards the tarmac, and I found that a small amount of engine power kept the aircraft headed straight towards the tarmac, the engine power being balanced with a slight breeze from the north. Again coincidentally there was a slight surface rise as we approached the tarmac area so I was able to get reasonably close, with safety, to our normal parking position. Bill Mitchell had a replacement rubber grommet, and the pneumatic system was serviceable again very quickly.

Wal Bowles
11th February 2003



If you wish to contribute your experiences, please contact Ron