Deadstick At Naples


From the unsung hero department comes an NTSB report of another airliner that suddenly became a glider and the reason we never heard about it at the time was because of the pilot’s apparently flawless forced landing at Naples Airport in Florida. The Cape Air Cessna 402 (operating as a Continental Connection flight) was en route from Key West to Fort Meyers when the engines quit just north of Naples at about 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 22, exactly a week after Capt. Chesley Sullenberger successfully ditched an A320 in the Hudson River. The unidentified Cape Air pilot spotted the runway lights at Naples and headed for Runway 14, with props feathered. When he knew he had the runway made, he used the blowdown bottle to drop the gear, landed and even managed to coast onto a taxiway, undoubtedly to the delight of his six passengers.

There was plenty of fuel aboard but the pilot had been fighting a fuel imbalance throughout the flight. NTSB investigators found a fuel tank selector valve had stuck between feed positions and it seems likely that’s what led to the fuel starvation. The investigators hung onto the fuel selector components and, presumably, the aircraft was returned to service.