In only a Moment
“What probably was Arthur Collins’ most embarrassing moment in his flying career occurred with Wellan the pilot ant Arthur the co-pilot on a twin-Beech landing at Cedar Rapids. It came at the end of a flight test of the company’s’ steering computer then under development. Arthur, Wollan and three engineers were on board. At that time the levers in the Beechcraft which controlled the flaps and the landing gear were similar. They were located on the floor pedestal, easily reached by the pilot in the left seat and the co-pilot in the right. The gear lever was on the left side and the flap control lever on the right side.
They Looked the Same
The landing gear of course had been lowered while the plane was on final approach to the runway. It was customary with the twin-Beech to raise the flaps immediately on touch-down to avoid a vortex effect of wind on the tail surfaces. Wollan brought the plane down to the point where the tires had just touched the runway but the weight of the aircraft had not yet settled on the landing gear. He told Arthur to hit the flaps control lever. But, for some reason Arthur activated the landing gear lever instead of the flaps causing the wheels to begin retracting. Wollan said the engines were at idle speed by this time and he thought the plane was beginning its roll out down the runway. He said he first realized what was happening when he noticed the tips of the three bladed aluminum propellers beginning to curl up like rams’ horns. I cut the power and we skidded right on down the center of the runway until we stopped. It was relatively smooth and caused little damage to the underside of the airplane. He said. Everyone got out in a hurry and Art never said a word.
It’s only money
You could tell he was really upset. Wollan said. But Arthur managed a wry grin about the accident a short time later when the company photographer arrived to take pictures of the damaged plane for insurance purposes, and the airport manager suggested Arthur pose with one foot on the craft in the manner of an African hunter trophy photo”
This was an excerpt from Arthur Collins Radio Wizard