Basic Configuration for a "Safe" airplane

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
13,686
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
And the Pitts is an exceptionally safe airplane from more than one standpoint.
It is, indeed, a safe airplane. It does exactly what it is commanded to do by its pilot. Unfortunately, it frequently has been used by pilots with bad judgement to kill themselves.


BJC
 

akwrencher

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
1,387
Location
Gustavus, AK
I'm going to jump on the training bandwagon. My personal opinion, worth every penny you paid to read it (😁), is that we need better training in both flying AND driving. Its scary easy to get a drivers license. I wonder, if it was harder, if people would expect flying to require training too, and not be so intimidated by it. Just a thought. Hard to say for sure.


Sorry, gues this is not really relevant to the OP.......
 

challenger_II

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
534
Location
Fisher County, Tx. USA
My old instructor would have argued that premise. He frequently stated you could teach a low land gorilla to moose-heard an airplane around, and even make a decent landing, but a true PILOT had to know what made the airplane fly, and how to use those factors to make the airplane perform to its best.


Interesting observation. Are you saying that the earliest pilots had a deep understanding of the physics of flight? I think they just went by "feel", flying the wing and learning about the rest as they gained experience. To the degree they ever had to learn the physics, it was in it's most rudimentary form. No way to quantify this of course, but I think it's likely you can be a safe and proficient pilot without much of that knowledge.
 

Dan Thomas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
6,228
If the inattentive pilot is near stall in a left turn to final and tries to roll level rapidly and only applies rapid full right aileron control that would stall the left wing and initiate a spin.
Rudder interconnect would add some anti spin with top rudder in that case.
That's a training problem that the interconnect tries to fix. Getting the student more proficient would be a whole lot better, and would cover a lot of other bases at the same time. Spin training rapidly teaches a student what can happen in various botched maneuvers. I've done that, and the student never makes that mistake again.

One of the Seven Learning factors is Intensity.

INTENSITY - Use dramatic, realistic or unexpected things, as they are long remembered.

(a) Students learn more from dramatic or exciting experiences than from boring ones. It is a well-known fact that a student's "lookout" while flying will improve considerably after a first experience with a near miss. There is no suggestion here that you provide your student with a near miss, but you should attempt to make your students' learning experiences exciting by being excited yourself and perhaps using any opportunity you can to introduce unexpected things to your students. Example: After students have learned fuel management and other aspects of cross-country navigation, you notice that they disregard the fuel quantity gauge during a cross-country flight. Allow them to continue until the fuel quantity is in close, but safe, proximity to running dry on one tank before you mention it. Your students will be shocked to be so close to an actual in-flight engine failure and will probably remember the experience for a long time.


A spin is an intense maneuver, even if the student is expecting it. A spin out of a skid is really intense, especially since most students, if they ever experience a spin at all, see the typical straight-ahead stall from a slow deceleration and kicking the rudder at the stall. That's not real-world flying. Stalling and spinning out of a skid or departure stall is way more intense. They never forget it. They have the stained underwear to remind them.
 

pwood66889

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
1,947
Location
Sopchoppy, Florida, USA
"Granted I don't have much experience in the Ercoupe. Only about a 1000 miles
in one..."
Doran Jaffas is my kind of person!

"...comments by myself and others on pilot training are not relevant to the
intent of this thread. It was about aircraft configuration..."
Thank you for the corrections, VB.

"...this thread is specifically about the big airplane-shaped thing that is
there before any equipment,..."
Again, good taking us back to track!

"The PA-22 Tripacer had linked aileron/rudder controls, from the factory.
In the 40 years I have been dabbling in all things Aviation, I have seen
exactly ONE that hadn't had the link removed."
This is a good data point, Challenger_II. Will try to talk to a Pacer
person about this. What was the reason for removing that linkage? I do
not want to speculate.

"The human brain is capable of great learning."
Exactly so, Dan. But how long does it take? Though lots is said against
the "yearly step increase" for wage workers, I say that it is worth the
money because they become better at their jobs - `ticularly for the first
decade! Yeah, that is for any skill, like flying.

"What would be really telling is an analysis of stall/spin accidents in
Tripacers..."
What an excellent research project, Matthew! Something you can do if your
current gig bores... :)

"Many airliners and other large aircraft have something a little like this-
-for example, a system that will retract the spoilers if the power is ..."
Another good point, gtae. What the airlines are trying to do is to substitute
mechanical (quick) fix for something that a pilot may well pick up in the
decade of experience I mentioned earlier. Like 10 years flying experience for
only a couple year's money.

"How many controls does a bike have? Pedals and handlebars, right? A simple
bike with coaster brakes is arguably easier..."
That is what I "soloed" on, Bigshu! And yet, I came **** close to murdering
myself on even that simple of a device!

"I think they <earliest pilots> just went by "feel", flying the wing and
learning about the rest as they gained experience..."
Should they live that long, Bugshu! Remember that decade I talked about?

"A big part of loss of control accidents is the lack of understanding of AoA."
Right on, Dan!
From "Stick and Rudder, An Explanation of the Art of Flying” by Mr. Wolfgang
Langewiesche; specifically From page 6: “In the textbooks, this thing (the “key
that … unlocks most of the art of flying” in the previous paragraph) is
discussed under the name of the Angle of Attack."

So I will end my "contribution" (rant?) harking back BJC: "... my answer from
8 pages ago: <"... flight controls that have self-centering and provide feedback
to the pilot.">"
I'll opine that any consistent flight controls that Are Used Often Enough, and
over a long enough time, will make a safer pilot! Should that person survive.

There have been enough configurations of that "big airplane-shaped thing" per VB
that if one was so outstanding over all the others it would be the only one
flying by now.

Now, Admins: This thread made me think, and I hope others have as well.

Percy in NW FL, USA
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
15,265
Location
Port Townsend WA
That's a training problem that the interconnect tries to fix. Getting the student more proficient would be a whole lot better, and would cover a lot of other bases at the same time
Right. But some pilots don't learn enough about turns in pilot training or forget after a decade or two.
Langewiesche has 40 pages in the book about turning correctly and student manuals have a few paragraphs.
 

Bigshu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2020
Messages
572
"I think they <earliest pilots> just went by "feel", flying the wing and
learning about the rest as they gained experience..."
Should they live that long, Bugshu! Remember that decade I talked about?
I agree, but to be fair, pilots learning to fly war machines that were marginally stable, along with some very bad flying habits may have had a short life expectancy, but they had the intensity that Dan mentioned to speed up their learning too. If we think that CFIs are sketchy on some knowledge and can't teach some concepts to students well, maybe the fix could include not using flight instruction as a time builder for airline jobs.
Still, I would like to see an upsized Ercoupe make a comeback, even if it wouldn't be significantly safer by design.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,718
Location
USA.
Homebuilt Ercoupe, Yes. The Ercoupe is really a simple built aluminum airplane except for the spar caps.
 

rotax618

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2005
Messages
1,369
Location
Evans Head Australia
Training is important, it also costs a great deal of money. Flying is so expensive now that it soon will only be a sport for the wealthy.
I think the question should be how do you design a homebuilt aeroplane that doesn’t need Chuck Yeager skills to fly and not kill yourself. Having that in mind, it not how you teach a student to avoid manoeuvres that are likely to end badly, its how do you design a plane such that those manoeuvres don’t cause an uncontrolled departure from safe flight.
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
13,686
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
I think the question should be how do you design a homebuilt aeroplane that doesn’t need Chuck Yeager skills to fly and not kill yourself.
Do you think that the tens of thousands of pilots flying existing E-AB designs have “Chuck Yeager skills”?


BJC
 

rotax618

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2005
Messages
1,369
Location
Evans Head Australia
No I don’t believe most GA pilots have extraordinary skills, I have known at least two dozen over the past 50 odd years of flying who aren’t with us any more because their skills were not sufficient to overcome the situation that they suddenly found themselves in. Continually blaming these events on pilot error, when many of those lost soles were high hour skilled pilots is the same as the argument “guns don’t kill people its people who kill people”.
It would be great to design as many of these “flaws” that will bite out of sports planes. I realise that it is not possible to remove all bad traits, nothing is or will ever be 100% safe.
Most of the GA fleet is 30 odd years old and many homebuilts are just homemade copies of them. If you compare the strides made in the automotive field during this time (ABS, Stability, Traction, airbags, crumple zones etc.) it is time to re-assess the design of the lightplane.
 

FriendlyRamrod

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
2
Kind of an interesting topic. Certainly mitigating the wings' stall characteristics in the design phase isn't a bad idea, but most GA aircraft have fairly significant stall mitigation "built" into the planform design (washout either geometric or aerodynamic, square planforms which stall root first due to the lift distribution etc...). As mentioned a lot of these accidents happen to high time pilots, indicating that a lack of proficiency or lack of understanding of flight physics is probably not the major cause.

Should we be requesting re-current training/flight reviews to do more to help us recognize and address risk-management and complacency during our flights? I know we're taught IMSAFE and about the woes of slowly deteriorating VFR conditions, but pilots are still stall-spinning on base to final. I wonder how many of these stall spin pilots thought they had adequate margin for the day, yet skidded slightly in gustier than anticipated conditions, or hit a 5kt thermal on base to final that rolled the aircraft left (right roll to correct, stall left wing, spin entry). How many of these accidents are a result of fatigue from flying for the day? My bet is they assessed the risk of the maneuver as "low" (subconsciously) yet something in the day/aircraft/flight planning changed where they placed themselves in a situation where they got bit. I wonder how many times I've gotten away with one without realizing...
 

FriendlyRamrod

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
2
No I don’t believe most GA pilots have extraordinary skills, I have known at least two dozen over the past 50 odd years of flying who aren’t with us any more because their skills were not sufficient to overcome the situation that they suddenly found themselves in. Continually blaming these events on pilot error, when many of those lost soles were high hour skilled pilots is the same as the argument “guns don’t kill people its people who kill people”.
It would be great to design as many of these “flaws” that will bite out of sports planes. I realise that it is not possible to remove all bad traits, nothing is or will ever be 100% safe.
Most of the GA fleet is 30 odd years old and many homebuilts are just homemade copies of them. If you compare the strides made in the automotive field during this time (ABS, Stability, Traction, airbags, crumple zones etc.) it is time to re-assess the design of the lightplane.
I think safety cockpits are a really good idea and agree with you 100%. Unfortunately without the scale of the auto industry I wonder how this can be done in an inexpensive way, and weight is always an issue.
 

Dan Thomas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
6,228
"The human brain is capable of great learning."
Exactly so, Dan. But how long does it take? Though lots is said against
the "yearly step increase" for wage workers, I say that it is worth the
money because they become better at their jobs - `ticularly for the first
decade! Yeah, that is for any skill, like flying.
In the 1940s and '50s and '60s an huge number of people learned to fly, many of them in taildragging spin-prone airplanes like Champs and Cubs and Cessna 120s and lots of other that we seldom see today. Most of those people didn't kill themselves. They died in bed like most other people. And they had no GPS, ADF or VOR, either, but managed to fly long distances using the magnetic compass, a watch and a map. All of this required a lot of learning and study. The human brain hasn't gotten smaller; it's gotten lazier as machinery has taken over and spoiled us all. That laziness has led people to believe that learning to fly is too hard, that we need safer airplanes to make up for the lack of knowledge. The safer airplane is nice but is no substitute for knowledge. The old saying: "You make an idiot-proof device and the world just comes up with better idiots."

"What would be really telling is an analysis of stall/spin accidents in
Tripacers..."
I tried to stall a Tri-Pacer. It would not stall at idle or at full power or anywhere in between. There were two of us in it; maybe with weight in the back it would have stalled. I also didn't try running the trim full-up, which gives the stabilizer more down-lift. Jackscrew type stab. Maybe it would have stalled if I had skidded a descending turn in it, but its reluctance in straight-ahead flight makes me think it would resist that, too.
Now, people go learn to fly in an airplane like that and get used to skidding, then they go fly a Champ and it kills them. That's the problem with idiot-proof stuff. It creates idiots that should be confined to the idiot-proof stuff. Training in airplanes that will stall and spin is much better. It becomes much more than a hazy academic idea at that point.
 

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
10,081
Location
CT, USA
That's what I said. Removing the interconnect will result in a slip instead of coordinated flight if the pilot doesn't apply some rudder. Since the interconnect applies rudder into the turn, it also makes it easier to
But it works the other way too, doesn't it? Pressing the rudder adds some aileron, too.

The classic scenario is the pilot is slow and overshooting the base to final turn. He's slow, and afraid of banking too much, so he "helps" the turn around with inside rudder. The interconnect would add some aileron, or increase the needed rudder force if he resists the ailerons.

Not that I agree with the need for such a system, just trying to understand the designer's logic.

Learning how to properly turn an airplane is fundamental to becoming a pilot. A proper training syllabus will include that, as well as spins, because becoming proficient in spins teaches a pilot how to avoid an unintended spin. The current syllabus is deficient, and some within the FAA know that, but, for some reason (unknown to me) the FAA strenuously opposes including spins in training.
I believe the stated reason was that they were seeing spin related crashes during training than they were in post checkride flying. Not that their statistical analysis was necessarily valid...
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
13,686
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
Please clarify if you are referring to aircraft skills or people skills, there may be a slight difference in the answers...
Point taken. I actually deleted several adjectives, none complimentary, but all based on my several conversations with CY, before I posted.
I believe the stated reason was that they were seeing spin related crashes during training than they were in post checkride flying. Not that their statistical analysis was necessarily valid...
If that was the reason, the problem likely was with the training / knowledge / skills of the CFI’s. I talked to an FAA man at Oshkosh several years ago about the recent change in stall training and also about spin training. His response was something to the effect of “There is no chance that the FAA will require spin training.” The FAA is afraid of actual stalls. {Sigh.}


BJC
 
Top