Updated: 5 August 2003
Posted: June 2003


Ryan RPVs


Just when you think its all fun and games, dropping drones, heading back to the "O" club.........

It happens..........

Following the first test launch of the low level Model 147J off Pt. Mugu, CA, the drone began to porpoise and dove straight into the ocean. The tech reps beleived the porpoising was caused by the autopilot over correcting to maintain the preset altitude. The second launch took place on January 3, 1966. This time the drone pitched up instantly after leaving the #3 pylon, impacting the #4 prop and tearing it off the fuselage. What was left of the drone went over the right wing, cut a hole in the right fuselage and then tore off part of the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. The #3 prop looked like someon had taken an ax to it.

#4 Nacelle front view


#4 Nacelle left side view


#4 Nacelle right side view


#3 prop


Close-up of #3 prop




Close-up of elevator


Fuselage damage


The aircraft handled actually quite well, the #3 engine could only be used at low power or it vibrated badly. Marvin didn't want to shut down the #3 engine and then attempt a landing with 2 engines out on the same side. A go around on two engines would be almost impossible, though the landing was made without incident.


The chase aircraft "a Navy F-4 radioed" in as the incident was happening that they better scramble air-sea rescue out cause you just lost a C-130......Apparently there was a good sized fire-ball when the JP-4 in the drone went up, that engulfed the C-130. And the pilot thought that the C-130 had exploded....


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