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Another Narrow Escape

By Shyam Hattangdi

There was never a dull moment in Gnats that I had an opportunity to fly, off
and on, from 1965 to 1982 and I had my share of incidents in ample measure.
One particular incident is worth mentioning.

It was a routine air test on a bright clear day and as I was climbing
through about 22,000 feet, I felt a slight “click” on the control column and
the aircraft began to gently roll to one side. This was easily controllable
and there was no indication of any other problem and the hydraulic pressure
and cycling were within normal limits. However since the problem involved
flight controls I decided to discontinue the air test and return, informing
ATC accordingly. Passing about 20,000 feet I decided that it would be wise
to get the wheels down as soon as possible as it could be an impending
hydraulic failure and, informing ATC of my intentions, reduced speed and
selected the undercarriage down.
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