How to crash a Plane and survive!?

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations / Flight Safety / Better Pil' started by MicRuler, Feb 25, 2010.

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  1. Feb 25, 2010 #1

    MicRuler

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    Howdy Guys, since whole concept of Ultralight Aviation sparked my interest about half a year ago I've heard a whole bunch of stories of forced landings. Most of them luckily landed safely but about 1/4 crashed, some of the pilots got survivable injuries like broken ankles, broken ribs, punctured lungs, etc while the unfortunate died in action. :depressed
    For the record Im not a pilot so forgive any naivety but what I'd like to know is if a motorcyclist or ATV rider(suited up in a helmet, chest protector, knee braces, boots etc) can fly 70feet in the air off a jump and smash into a mountain side at 100mph and still get up and wobble away with the bike totalled :emb:.
    Why arent there similar apparel for pilots?:confused: I know some pilots do wear helmets to protect that all important Brain but you'd think with all the cost that comes with aviation an extra $90 a piece give or take for a chest protector to guard your guts, and a pair of knee braces and ATV boots to protect your legs could save you months of healing, your wallet from hospital bills, time taken away from flying and most importantly that extra 7% survival rate in the event of misfortune.:whistle:
     
  2. Feb 25, 2010 #2

    Dana

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    Perhaps because most pilots don't expect to crash... most airplane crashes are related to pilot error, even when the original trigger event is not (like engine failure). A dirt biker expects to crash eventually; a street biker knows he might crash due to the action of another driver.

    Most ultralight hard landings (as opposed to "real" crashes, which are much less common) happen a lot slower than bike crashes.

    -Dana

    The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.
     
  3. Feb 25, 2010 #3

    bmcj

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    I say it's because someone who puts themselves on a motorcycle in a situation where they might "fly 70 feet in the air off a jump and smash into a mountain side at 100 mph" doesn't have enough sense to get injured like they should be! :gig:
     
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  4. Feb 25, 2010 #4

    pwood66889

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    My first solo was off the back of a motorcycle. Drilled a `55 Ford in the side when he didn't see me and tried to cross the street I was riding down. Airplanes are safer because you are farther away from most the idiots.
    On The Other Hand. Full body armor might be an idea for a high-risl flight, or crop dusting.
    Percy in SE Bama
     
  5. Feb 25, 2010 #5

    lr27

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    I've done some like that off a bicycle. Lots of fun. Usually because of a blind motorist.

    I'd go with a steel tube frame and a really good safety belt system, and maybe a helmet I suppose. Maybe a polycarbonate windshield too.

    These new motorbike kids must be tougher than Evel Knievel. He had the sense to break bones.

    I suspect with ultralights the percentages are better if you have enough training to be a good pilot and you keep that in mind. Plus learn how to operate the engine correctly and take care of it.

    I once witnessed a dead stick landing by a Hi Max. He was kind of dumb because first he tried to stretch to his home field before he turned toward us and landed in a field with 15 people walking around on it. Fortunately, our guy on the P.A. saw what was happening and told everyone to scram. The guy almost stalled it into the trees and/or cars, or at least that's what I feared, but then greased it on. I think it was downwind because he used up most of the field. About 1000 feet! Throttle linkage came apart.
     
  6. Feb 25, 2010 #6

    wsimpso1

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    In ultralights, the human is out front and/or underneath, so he/she tend to get to the collision first, with the rest of the ship piling on. Would armor help? Maybe. But since crashes are relatively rare, armor is just not part of the gear.

    Ultralights have minimal structure and thus can neither do much protective crushing nor prevent foreign body intrusion.

    Then there is the dual issues of hieght and speed - Industrially, fatality rates from falls go up rapidly at 12 ft. Anything higher than 12 feet can kill you. Rarely does a running human have fatal results, but bicycle accidents are frequently fatal. SO, we have to accept that anytime you are flying in an ultralight, you are both high enough and fast enough to kill you. While armor on the limbs and torso might help, it only raises the threashhold a little, while the range available is is much bigger.

    Next, accidents come in several flavors: messy landings, low altitude stalls, mid-air collision, controlled flight into terrain, and airframe failures. Yeah, there are others, but this leaves out a lot less than it includes...

    If you land an ultralight too sideways, too high a sink rate, ground loop it, or on less than ideal terrain, only the wheels and a little aluminum tubing can get there ahead of you, and that stuff will take big damage. And if the less than ideal terrain is trees, well, tree limbs may get to you first. The rest of the airplane then grinds you into the objects you landed on. By the way, this is usually how engine failure turns into an accident. That said, I knew a hang glider who had landed out in treed areas enough times that his friends said he was making a habit of it. He would come into work all scratched up... Anyway, if the pilot manages the situation pretty well, the odds are very good, even in ultralights.

    Stalls at low altitude usually result in the vertical rate jumping and by definition occur too low for recovery. Same result as in a messy landing, but with more vertical energy.

    Mid-airs are always a worry, but actually pretty darned rare. If you survive and are awake after thumping two machines together at 50 or more mph, ultra lights usually either have a ballistic parachute or the pilot is wearing a chute...

    CFIT seems silly, but is way more common than anyone would like. Basically, a perfectly good airplane is flown into the terrain. Inattention, neglect, incapacitation, panic, rising terrain, etc all can contribute. Airspeed can be high, and again the unltralight piles onto the pilot.

    Airframe failures happen in ultralights, and were common enough that they drove the invention and development of the ballistic parachute. There are circumstances where it will not deploy, or where it will not do you any good, like at 50 feet...

    The only types of airplanes that are flown expecting to crash are agricultural application planes and tactical aircraft. Ag ships have a crash cage, heavy duty seat and restraint structures, and they are flown wearing five-point harness and helmets. What, no 'chute? They never fly high enough to use one, so why bother? My wife's uncle has flown a Snow through a big tree that had been there throughout his whole career, but forgot it was there one day. Saw it in time to pull on the stick and open the throttle, hit the tree with the belly and bottom of the wing, half skipped off and half flew through, was still flying, so he pushed the nose back to level flight attitude, and flew back to base. There was more damage to the spray bars and pump than to the airframe. They were spraying later that day, and that tree had an airplane shaped hole in its foliage for years.

    Tactical aircraft have ejection seats, need I say more?

    While more conventional airplanes have more favorable structures for the occupant than in ultralights, they also operate in a much higher kinetic energy environment. As a group, ultralight fliying is not bad. Far more accidents happen due to poor judgment and lousy skills than everything else, so I know where I would put my attention...

    The closest thing we have to safe flight is airliners, and people die in them occaisionally too.

    Billski
     
  7. Feb 25, 2010 #7

    lr27

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    A Cessna 152 has around 3 or 4 times the kinetic energy of a legal ultralight when both are at stall speed. Similar factors when both are at top speed. For, say, a Bonanza the ratios are more like 5 and 10. If the ultralight had some collapsible structure and the motor ahead of the pilot, I think I'd rather crash in it, if forced to.
     
  8. Feb 26, 2010 #8

    litespeed

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    For my 2 cents i'd prefer a ultralight version of a Fokker DVIII replica, it has the heavy bits all forward of the pilot and enough structure to absorb the majority of kinetic energy before the pilot feels the G load. Anything that can collapse to take the loads is good, assuming the pilot is not in front of it and becomes a sandwich.
     
  9. Feb 26, 2010 #9

    Mac790

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    What about BRS?



    Seb
     
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  10. Feb 26, 2010 #10

    Jman

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    I flew a tactical aircraft for 6 hours today in ways that would make an ag pilot proud. No cage, no ejection seat. Hmmm...I'm starting to think I'm not the brightest guy on the planet. Of course, I do wear a helmet, fire retardant clothing, and body armor - although the armor is not designed for crash protection. I feel better about wearing those things but I have to accept that in the terrain and flight profile I fly in, a mishap just might not be survivable. I try not to think about the things I can't change and get better at the things I can.

    I believe that flying for fun should be fun. If flying stops being fun, than there is no point to it. In some types of flying, protective gear may only increase your likelihood of survival by a few percent. In others, it could improve it much more than that and may be worth the (in my mind) hassle. I don't think it's so much a cost issue as a risk vs. reward thing.
    Sorry if that does not make sense, it's been a long strange day.....
     
  11. Feb 26, 2010 #11

    bmcj

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  12. Feb 26, 2010 #12

    litespeed

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    What happened?

    I saw the other plane cut across in front, but no impact or did he panic and pull the chute?
     
  13. Feb 26, 2010 #13

    Mac790

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    BRS was deployed after midair collision with a tow cable.

    Seb
     
  14. Feb 26, 2010 #14

    litespeed

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    Found the answer-

    What we didn't easily see was the rope behind the plane that crossed his path, it was towing a glider. The rope stuck in the prop- then he cut the engine, then pulled the chute. Aircraft needed rebuilding after, looked like he may have been able to forget the chute and look for a spot to land. If there is no spot then he could have set off the chute. After all that glider tug came from a strip.

    Could this have been a case of pulling the chicken lever instead of flying the plane?

    Phil

     
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  15. Feb 26, 2010 #15

    cpd

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    I see lots of open area around! I would rather fly a glider than test pilot a parachute!

    Chris
     
  16. Feb 26, 2010 #16

    BBerson

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    It looked like the tow pilot was trying to avoid the airplane with a last second maneuver. The tow pilot had the right of way.
     
  17. Feb 26, 2010 #17

    bmcj

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    Agreed. It also looked like the pilot with the camera might have reacted to seeing the towplane by pullig up and to the right... right into the towline. Hard to tell for sure though, based only on the video.
     
  18. Feb 26, 2010 #18

    autoreply

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    I agree
    According to several articles and comments I read about the Cirrus parachute system it might have cost more lives than it saved because people pull it when not absolutely necessary.

    Most of the talks about expensive safety systems forget that there's one safety system that's better and cheaper than anything else; pilot training and currency. 90% of the deadly accidents are (partly) caused by pilot errors. Spend money and time on safety training, risk recognition, airplane limit knowledge and psychological factors and you'll have one of the best returns on investment you'll have in your life...
     
  19. Feb 26, 2010 #19

    Dana

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    Certainly a large percentage of the so called "saves" on the BRS website are things that should not have required a parachute.

    In the above video, I seem to recall some discussion when it first appeared online. IIRC there was come control damage so using the chute was the right decision.

    -Dana

    The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages-- as if the savages weren't dangerous enough already.
     
  20. Feb 27, 2010 #20

    radfordc

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    Given that there are pilots (perhaps many) who have poor skills and bad judgment....perhaps pulling the chute is their best option? I've heard that when panic strikes it causes some people to be incapable of coherent action.

    Charlie
     

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