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March 6, 1999

Boeing 747-200F landing-gear collapse causes plane to burn up.

On March 6, 1999 at Madras, India, an AirFrance Freighter landed shortly before midnight in fair weather conditions. After rolling 7,000ft down the runway, the aircraft's nose landing gear collapsed causing the nose to skid down the runway. All five crewmembers escaped. The plane subsequently caught on fire and consumed the entire plane.

"Finally, when the fire engulfed a wing of the aircraft, its fuel tanks exploded. All that remained were the nose and tail sections."
see Aviation Week & Space Technology,
March 15, 1999, page 42

There is some question as to the effectiveness of the firefighter's professionalism in the matter, however this incident once again shows the vulnerabilities of the conventional aircraft where a mere undercarriage collapse has such devastating effects.

"5. The [Burnelli] design embodies extremely good factors of safety--considerably higher than the streamlined fuselage type."
See General H.H. Arnold's letter of Sept. 19, 1939

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