Randy Roberts, Nail 38, 23D TASS 72-73

Author’s E-mail nail38@earthlink.net

Title: Aircraft Save


I was taking-off from NKP on a regular combat sortie with the usual complement of stores (rockets and the centerline tank) and a new guy in the back seat. 


To say the OV-10 was staggering off the runway with this load on a regular basis would be a true statement.  The Dash-1 states something to the effect that loss of a main landing gear tire just prior to rotation always resulted in the aircraft immediately departing the runway and then other associated bad things usually happening and that consideration of ejection might be a good option.  Hey, they were right!  Just prior to the magic “125 knots” for rotation I lost my right main gear/tire with the resulting immediate departure from the runway and the aircraft turning into a 0V (off road vehicle) which is “numbah ten” if your fanny is in it!


 I was so busy trying to miss the BAC-9 shack and other assorted hazards I never even thought of anything other than getting the plane back on the runway!  After being “in the weeds” for approx. 1500 feet, I finally got the airplane back on the active, stopped, and shut down the engines.  We both got out of the bird and took stock of the situation.  Aside from both being scared shitless and forgetting to pin our respective seats, everything was OK except the right main gear/hub had seen better days.  I asked the back seat new guy if he had considered jumping-out and he said he had “just held on” for the duration.  Although I would like to attribute this “save” to extreme skill and airmanship, I’ll have to give it a 2 for skill and the remaining 8 for blind luck! They came out and placed a dolly under what was left of the right main and towed it off to maintenance – it flew again the next day (so did I).


Note: Later in the year, this again happened to a Rustic FAC taking-off from Phnom Penh in Cambodia.  He departed the active as advertised in the Dash-1 but was faced with a large ditch approaching from his 12 o’clock.  He punched-out, and after successfully ejecting, walked over to the bird that had mired in the mud just short of the ditch, and shut down the engines.  The sum total result was that maintenance flew-in a new canopy; ejection seat and hub/tire, fixed the aircraft and one of the guys flew it back to Ubon.





(Ed. Note The Rustic Jumper was Rick Scaling Rustic 09..his story is told by Mark Berent  in the  Rustic  Section)




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