On the first of November, 2011, LOT Airlines Flight LO-16 a Boeing 767-300ER (SP-LPC) took off from Newark Liberty International Airport, at 12:20am Eastern Daylight Time, starting what was expected to be an 8-hour flight. Captain Tadeusz Wrona and First Officer Jerzy Szwarc at the controls, were 220 passengers and 11 crew aboard.

Flight 16 was scheduled from Newark, New Jersey to Warsaw, Poland. Thirty minutes after taking of from Newark, the 767 experienced the failure of the center hydraulic system. During the eight-hour flight, the crew coordinated with LOT Airlines maintenance to troubleshoot the hydraulic fault. Back up systems on the 767 did not make the loss of the center hydraulic system a safety of flight issue.

On final for runway 33 to Warsaw Chopin Airport, the crew try to extend the landing gear which didn’t move. At 3000 feet Captain Wrona aborted the landing and was directed to a holding pattern. For 80 minutes Flight 16 orbited the holding panel and conducted troubleshooting on the gear failure.

Captain Tadeusz Wrona

During the troubleshooting checklist the gear failed to manually extend. Captain Wrona was committed to a belly up, no gear landing. In complete control, the aircraft touched down at 140 knot airspeed. It skidded along the runway using the two engines as skids and the crew controlling the aircraft with the rudder.

The aircraft came to a stop and all passengers and crew egressed safely with minor injuries. A fuel fire on the right wing was quickly extinguished by the fire department while the egress was in progress.

The Investigation revealed the source of the hydraulic failure to be a leak from a damaged hose in the right main landing gear. The manual gear extension is initiated by an electrical switch releasing the gear locks which normally the gravity falls into a locked condition. An overarching battery bus circuit-breaker which protects several systems including the alternate landing-gear extension motor tripped. The circuit breaker is design to protect various aircraft systems including the manual gear extension.

Circuit breaker tripped.





01 DEC 1982, Hahn AB, West Germany-  F-16A 80-0564, Call Sign “Curl 8”  of the 313th FTS, 50th Tactical Fighter Wing crashed on landing at Hahn Airbase.  The pilot, First Lieutenant Rick French, ejected safely.

“Landing runway 04, crosswind component had many aircraft crabbing in on final. Last plane out on this particular night…Inbound with the GCA, pilot took over visually and hit the runway 22 localizer, stripped the landing gear, lost hydraulics, computer took over and a/c executed burner climb with pilot ejection at apex.” -Eye Witness

The jet hit the approach lights and lost hydraulics. It went into a maximum burner climb, looped and consequently crashed in the woods off base, one and-a-half miles (2.5 Km) to the Northwest.


This happened again in January 1988.  We were TDY to Spain and got orders from Hahn to inspect all the Main Landing Gear attach points.  They were all fine.

What had happened was that F-16C 84-1300 came in for a night landing and clipped the landing light tower just like Lt. French had in 1982.  In this case, the aircraft hit the steep slope of ground on the approach end.  It bounced and ground to a halt on the runway.  When the Fire department arrived, they found the canopy open and the seat still in the cockpit.  After a brief  search, the pilot was found in the grass between the runway.  In a fetal position, crying.