Crashes in the News - Thread

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations / Flight Safety / Better Pil' started by choppergirl, Jun 8, 2016.

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  1. Aug 3, 2019 #2481

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    What I would like is an easy way to jetison your landing gear entirely (as in disconnect them from the plane and let them plummet to the ground) so that in an emergency landing you could skid on a belly skid like a glider, instead of getting your tail dragger front wheel caught in something brushy or otherwise (rut, curb, hole, etc), and flipping or coming to an abrupt and uncomfortable stop.

    A simple low tech solution on fixed gear ultralights, where you pull a parking brake lever type handle, and it unlocks the mechanism holding them on, and away they go..... look out below, rural farmland
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  2. Aug 3, 2019 #2482

    BBerson

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    With a pusher engine, the glider wheel and forward skid can be fixed. Always ready for an emergency. It is an important feature in my pusher design. I want to be able to land on soft fields or water without flipping over.
     
  3. Aug 3, 2019 #2483

    Aesquire

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    Better than dropping your gear on a playground full of lawyer's children, is designing it to absorb energy in a crash and not dig in and crank the G loading up.
     
  4. Aug 3, 2019 #2484

    Wanttaja

    Wanttaja

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    Or come up with a way to have the gear come up into wells in the fuselage or wings. We could call it, "retractable" gear.....

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  5. Aug 3, 2019 #2485

    jedi

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    But then a Sport Pilot could not fly it and a private pilot might not remember if it is up or down when landing. Also the added complexity may require and additional endorsement in order to be PIC and if the insurance company were to discover this capability they may double the insurance premium. Fore sure the mechanic would charge an additional fee for the annual condition inspection.

    If the pilot happens to be on a fixed flight budget he/she would have to cut his/her flight hours to an unacceptable low level where the FAR currency requirements could no longer be maintained and the pilot would no longer be able to carry a passenger. The pilot could no longer fly with his/her friends or relatives and he/she would be outside the social circle and depression may follow whereby his/her AME would report this to the FAA and the pilot would not be able to renew his/her third class physical and would be required to fly as a Light Sport Pilot and he/she would be required to sell his/her airplane with a retractable landing after which the pilot could get a glider rating and purchase a glider with a retractable landing gear or a nose skid as was proposed in post #2482.

    Thanks to BB for a great idea for a low cost aircraft.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  6. Aug 3, 2019 #2486

    Deuelly

    Deuelly

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    In my canard design the main gear mount is hinged in the rear. On the front side of the mount are two pins the can be pulled using a bright red emergency handle in the cockpit. The gear hangs backwards at an angle until contact with the ground folds it all the way back. This turns the canard into a sled instead of a lawn dart on off field landings. I'm also working on a retrofit for EZ's and Cozy's.
     
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  7. Aug 3, 2019 #2487

    Speedboat100

    Speedboat100

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    Why would you like to have a system like this ?
     
  8. Aug 3, 2019 #2488

    Wanttaja

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    I was being facetious, but you could make it a one-shot system, using a non-rechargeable pressure bottle or battery, or having the gear switch held in the down position with light safety wire that the pilot can break in an emergency. It's now an emergency system, not routinely used and thus outside the parameters of normal retractable gear. Retractable gear is not ABSOLUTELY prohibited for a Light Sport, but this would be a new justification and you'd need an FAA ruling on it to be sure.

    As for maintenance cost, well, the A&P would probably be required to test the jettisonable system at every annual, as well.

    There are limited cases where the lack of a landing gear might make a forced landing more survivable. Think ditching in the water, or landing on very soft ground.

    Limited, and in my opinion not occurring often enough to justify such a system.

    In addition, the pilot factors involved in ejecting the landing gear are going to be similar to those involved in using ballistic chutes. Pilots will be reluctant to release the gear because it now turns what might be an ordinary landing into a gear-up event that will undoubtedly damage the airplane. So you add more pressure to the pilot during an already stressful event...he or she now has to assess the physical condition of the selected emergency landing area, and won't really be sure until the plane is very, very, close.

    Yes, over water there is no issue. But water landings are a relatively rare event.

    A ballistic chute is a better option.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  9. Aug 3, 2019 #2489

    radfordc

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    Simplest solution to ejecting the gear is explosive bolts...ala NASA.
     
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  10. Aug 3, 2019 #2490

    gtae07

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    And that drags BATFE into the mix. Not a fun time for anyone. Capricious, nonsensical, and arbitrary the FAA may be, but at least it sticks to its interpretations and rulings once it's made them and doesn't run shady "sting" operations.

    Anyway, it seems to me that arguing for jettisonable gear is like trying to argue that you shouldn't wear a seatbelt because there's a rare accident where someone gets ejected from the vehicle and survives. Properly-designed gear could absorb a lot of energy and make a lot more landings survivable that otherwise might not be--far more so than the opposite case.
     
  11. Aug 3, 2019 #2491

    Wanttaja

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    Oh, brudder, you ain't just peddling vacuum.

    Before I retired, I was the lead engineer on a program to develop multiple small satellites for the Government. Some of them required explosive release mechanisms with just a few grains of explosive. Absolutely tiny.

    The trouble is, we had an extremely short deadline to design, build, and test these things... and that time was actually shorter than the standard turnaround for getting approval to SHIP these things. The part manufacturer had approval and the appropriate containers to ship them to use (thickwalled steel pipe), but if we had to get shipping approval, we'd miss our ride to orbit.

    The solution? The good old U.S. Air Force...an outfit quite familiar with hauling explosives to exotic places.

    Going back to the original problem, though, there ARE non-explosive actuators. "Explosive bolts" without the explosive, working on internal spring pressure and a burnwire. Used those on a couple of other satellites I worked on. During a test, I actually held one in my hand to feel the mechanism release.

    We used an explosive actuator on those programs as well, and needed a bunker for testing.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  12. Aug 3, 2019 #2492

    jedi

    jedi

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    BATFE ?????

    B -
    A -
    T -
    F -
    E -
     
  13. Aug 3, 2019 #2493

    gtae07

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    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (a title better fitting a store than a government agency, if you ask me).
     
  14. Aug 3, 2019 #2494

    jedi

    jedi

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    Could that be a guarded switch with the guard wired in the down position?

    That sounds very similar to the system installed on a particular aircraft that was designed as a Light Sport aircraft and built prior the the final rule with the assumption that US Light Sport regulations would allow a retractable landing gear similar the the Euro rules.

    I have also heard of an aviation speaker who gives FAST FAA program events and points out that many pilots are reluctant to apply 91.3 (b) while in flight. He encourages pilots to carefully consider compliance with all of the FARs. He claims that 91.3 (b) applies to most of his flights in one way or another. Apparently he has a problem making good landings. A characteristic he has noted that is very common among many pilots.

    For future reference, CFR Title 14 Paragraph 91.3 (c) indicates that the FAA does not need to grant prior approval or to be notified of applicable operations under 91.3 (b) unless requested.

    ;);)
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  15. Aug 3, 2019 #2495

    Speedboat100

    Speedboat100

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    Can't you just design the system so that these cases never cause a problem ?
     
  16. Aug 3, 2019 #2496

    Wanttaja

    Wanttaja

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    Well...not really my area of expertise, but I suspect it'd be pretty tough.

    Here's a rough sketch of an unfortunate JAFTHA pilot having to land in water. He's got the airplane flying as slow as possible, with the tailwheel dragging in the water first. That's good... the drag is far behind the center of mass, and the effect is mostly decelleration.

    [​IMG]
    However, it's Katy bar the door when the mains hit. The plane is still going ~40-60 MPH (depending on the winds) and the wheels are significantly below the center of mass. A massive couple is produced, shoving the plane into the water, hard, nose first.

    Trigear is as bad, if not worse. I don't know if it'll be possible to drag the tail before the mains will hit on an RV-8A.
    [​IMG]
    While the mains are closer to the center of mass, it's STILL a pretty good offset, and, again, a massive pitch-down is produced. When the nose gear hits the water, the couple isn't as bad, but drag is increased even more.

    Offhand, I don't see a real advantage to the two. To design to reduce this problem, you want your fixed gear to be contacting the water with a line as close as possible to the CG. This would mean a plane that sits VERY close to the ground, normally. You'd need the engine on a pylon, overhead.

    It's not impossible...after all, most amphibians are built this way!

    But...these amphibians usually crash if they're landed in the water with their gear down. So it's not a simple design issue.

    The solution, as I mentioned earlier, is a whole-airplane parachute. Works for emergency landings on the land OR water.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  17. Aug 3, 2019 #2497

    Speedboat100

    Speedboat100

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    Roger...understood ! I will sketch a plane concept..that is close to your description.
     
  18. Aug 3, 2019 #2498

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    Because ultralights primarily fly over rural areas, and in my case that would be farmlands and forest. If you can, it would be safer in case of an engine out, to stick over the farmland when you do your flying as much as possible and avoid the forest, particularly if you are flying low where everything interesting is to see. Dropping your wheels is not such a threat to anyone down below, because there's no people... noting but dirt and brush and mother nature down below.

    My crash strategy is to attempt to land in such a way that I avoid at all costs "coming to an abrupt halt". When you come to an abrupt halt, the G's skyrocket way up, your head and body get thrown forward, you hit things inside the cockpit, etc. This I gathered from posts on here about surviving impacts, neck braces, seat and cockpit design, and so on.

    Therefore, in a crash scenario, I am looking for the best place where my plane can slide over a nice good distance to a stop to dissapate my momentum as spread out and gradually as possible. Ideally, it would be on my airplanes wheels, in an empty grass field, like a runway landing... but you may not have "ideal" available to you below. But still, you want to come to a stop over a distance plowing through whatever I'm landing on. On a skid where the fuselage can cut a path through almost anything like a jetski would be ideal. If this is in a farm field, it's going to have a crop in it, or rows planted in it... which wheels catch on... and you stop suddenly and or flip just like hitting a brick wall or a curb.

    In the unlikely event of a forest landing, my strategy would be to flair out and stall into the tree top canopy, so that my wings will catch on the top of the trees and me and the plane won't go crashing straight down 50 feet to the forest floor. Sure, I'll be stuck up there, but I'll be alive and unhurt, and I can figure out how to climb down from there or light up the cell phone.

    If I have to do a water landing (aka over a lake, when the alternative is forest all the way up the shore), my strategy would be to get to and land as close to the shore as possible. A person gets exhausted very quickly swimming and I don't want to be stuck out in the middle even if I can float. A river landing... imagine I wouldn't have a whole lot of choices... if I've got time, look for somewhere to put down on or near a sand bar, where I got some kind of beach to climb up on to and am not presented with a steep riverbank.

    I don't think explosive bolts would be required at all, that's something better suited for spacecraft disengagement. I'm thinking more like a simple moving unlock system via a levered handle. Kind of like how a big handle switches railroad tracks from left to right. You pull lever, some bolts or pins slide out of their socket on the back of your under carriage. The front is just slotted into the plane, so once the back end of the carriage rotates downward from the action of gravity, the front slides out and the whole thing goes down. Keep it simple, because simple is always more reliable and better.

    I have never crashed a plane before, but if my engine goes out and that's the scenario I'm facing, and the engine isn't restartable, that's what my mind is scanning for and what my plan is. Where can I land on my wheels, and if not findable, next best... where can I slide to a stop over a long distance... and if that's also not available... where can I alight in the trees and get hung up there like a leaf suspended on top of a astro-turf.

    Once I'm on the ground, the second part of my crash strategy would kick in - how do I stay out of the newspapers. I want to get my airplane out of there (or disassembled and hidden, if not) as quickly as possible. That requires I have thought and prepared ahead. Do I have a trailer? Do I have a way to get into almost anywhere with something that could help me carry things out. Do I have an electric or hand wench at the ready? How about a chainsaw? Wire cutters for barb wire fences? Helpers I can call at a moments notice who can provide more feet and boots on the ground. And so on, thought out ahead. Do I have this all already loaded in my ultralight transportation truck and trailer and ready to go before every take off as just a preparation for the most likely eventualities I can imagine?

    I don't want to crash, and I'm going to take all steps I can think of before hand from preventing it, but in the scenario where I have to, I want to be unhurt, sliding to a stop over a good distance, with the least damage to my plane as possible, and nobody ever know it happened... overall when everything is said and done, it was a "non-event". This, to me, is my definition of a "sucessful crash".

    All these crashes here, I consider to some degree to be failures, at least in my book, because they were "in the news".


    Open question to anyone - what's your crash strategy? -- beyond lots of preflight checks and maintenance, avoiding crashing in the first, or flying so bloody high you got an hour to decide what to do. Have you thought ahead? So you don't have to think then, but already know what you want to do. I want to fly ultralights, so my strategy relates to them - a larger, heavier plane, the thought process over rural and also populated areas has a lot more concerns to consider - public safety, etc.

    If someone has their own good ideas on surviving crashes that make sense to me, I'll surely be incorporating them into my strategy. Prepare for everything, but if you can't prepare for the most likely scenarios at least. For me, flying old snowmobile 2 strokes, that means an engine out (with no electric or pullstart recranking) and putting my plane in over a field, forest, river, or lake.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  19. Aug 3, 2019 #2499

    BBerson

    BBerson

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    I watched a Glasair Sportsman flip over after the nosewheel caught a taxiway edge. And a C172 that flipped in about a foot of snow. The parachute was not an option for these guys.
     
  20. Aug 4, 2019 #2500

    Deuelly

    Deuelly

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    A parachute bring up the old, do pilots use it when they don't need to driving up insurance, debate.

    The solution on water is proper technique. During WWII Navy pilots were taught to dip wing and kick rudder. You're less likely to end up inverted if a wing or tail hits the water after the mains touch. There's more area and less weight to dissipate the energy.
     

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