Investigators say the pilot of a cargo plane which made an emergency landing at Santa Barbara Airport performed a dangerous maneuver to keep the out of control aircraft from plowing into the airport’s terminal. On August 25th, the C-130 cargo plane was headed from its field base in Malaysia to home base in Phoenix for maintenance.
The plane stopped in Santa Maria to refuel. Shortly after takeoff, the crew saw leaking hydraulic fluid and smoke. The pilot headed for Santa Barbara Airport. On touchdown, the damaged aircraft veered off the runway towards the main airport terminal.
The pilot intentionally ground looped the plane, making one wing hit the ground so the plane would spin a different direction. The maneuver worked, and no one was hurt.
In a preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board investigators say an air duct had failed, blowing hot air onto hydraulic lines and electrical wires, causing the emergency.