Little airplane, poor energy management

HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

kent Ashton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
727
Location
Concord, NC
It's worth discussing this recent crash that killed a low time pilot and his friend. Skip to 2:40
https://youtu.be/aSFxILuEkTQ

These familiar accidents come from not appreciating energy management (among other things). The pilot no doubt expected to start his aerobatic maneuver at say, 200' AGL with speed XXX, do the manueuver, and pull out at about the same altitude and speed. He did not anticipate that an aggressive pullup , wingover, and pullout all produced greater energy loss (induced drag is part) that would require additional energy over 1G level flight. The extra energy would have to be made up by engine thrust, or by losing altitude with the maneuver, or by giving up airspeed.

His little Bellanca engine was was maxed out during the high-speed setup pass and did not have enough time during the maneuver to offset the energy loss so he had to lose altitude and/or airspeed completing the maneuver which he was not mentally prepared to give up. Looking straight down at the ground, he ham-fisted the pullout and spun the airplane.

With little, high-drag, low-powered airplanes, most aerobatic maneuvers are altitude-losing maneuvers. Even practicing them at altitude, as this fellow was said to have done, does not always give an appreciation of energy management. A pilot gets a feel for the pull, the G's, being upside-down, and using the controls but he may not pay much attention to energy state after the maneuver.
http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2017/05/bellanca-7eca-n787mw-fatal-accident.html
 

fly2kads

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,520
Location
Justin, TX
I suspect you're right about energy management.

In this specific case, one has to wonder if the coke and meth in his system clouded his judgement and impacted his sensory perception.
 

BBerson

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
12,826
Location
Port Townsend WA
Hard to see. Looked like he went vertical and it fell into a spin and the pilot didn't recover from the spin
 

Unknown_Target

Active Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
38
Location
Somerville
That's unfortunate. It sounds like he might have ingested drugs some time ago, considering that most of the traces were inactive. So maybe they didn't play a role. Can't really say? But cocaine is enough to make people feel like a superhero. Young male. Probably overconfident in his abilities and lack of a respect for the danger of low-altitude maneuvers.

That being said, this paragraph is telling:

"Witnesses reported observing the pilot completing several low altitude maneuvers before descending and impacting the river. Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed to the left, subsequently entering a near vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane came to rest inverted and partially submerged in the river."

Sounds like yea, a lack of energy management. If he was going for a loop he didn't plan enough energy going into it. If he was going for an Immelman then it sounds like he didn't factor altitude for the pull out. Saw he wouldn't have enough and snap-rolled the aircraft by mistake.

Sorry for him and his family.
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
10,523
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
It's worth discussing this recent crash that killed a low time pilot and his friend. Skip to 2:40
https://youtu.be/aSFxILuEkTQ

These familiar accidents come from not appreciating energy management (among other things). The pilot no doubt expected to start his aerobatic maneuver at say, 200' AGL with speed XXX, do the manueuver, and pull out at about the same altitude and speed. He did not anticipate that an aggressive pullup , wingover, and pullout all produced greater energy loss (induced drag is part) that would require additional energy over 1G level flight. The extra energy would have to be made up by engine thrust, or by losing altitude with the maneuver, or by giving up airspeed.

His little Bellanca engine was was maxed out during the high-speed setup pass and did not have enough time during the maneuver to offset the energy loss so he had to lose altitude and/or airspeed completing the maneuver which he was not mentally prepared to give up. Looking straight down at the ground, he ham-fisted the pullout and spun the airplane.

With little, high-drag, low-powered airplanes, most aerobatic maneuvers are altitude-losing maneuvers. Even practicing them at altitude, as this fellow was said to have done, does not always give an appreciation of energy management. A pilot gets a feel for the pull, the G's, being upside-down, and using the controls but he may not pay much attention to energy state after the maneuver.
http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2017/05/bellanca-7eca-n787mw-fatal-accident.html
That 7 ECA is perfectly capable of performing a loop or a half Cuban with a half roll to upright with recovery at the entry altitude. It also will fly out of a properly executed Immelmann.

Don't fault the machine for operator error.


BJC
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
6,785
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
I might have missed something... where did the concept of cocaine and meth come into this? Was any of that s**t shown to be in his system at the time of this tragedy?

Traces of previous / past drug use in someone's system (in a pilot who is not a current drug user) will not affect their ability to fly safely. I had a very close friend who was a recovering addict, and thanks to recently developed medical treatments/medicines he got himself clean. I flew with him many times, and his technical stick and rudder flying ability was just fine.

Cocaine, meth, heroin, crack... nowhere near as dangerous as testosterone and ego.

I have far far FAR less aerobatic time than some of the guys here on this forum, but I have flown the 7ECA several times and it is an absolutely delightful, well mannered sport and basic acro airplane. It's basically an Aeronca Champ with another 30-50HP
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
12,274
Location
Memphis, TN
Showing off was the first mistake. Most accidents are pilots doing the wrong things. Some under prepared, either by luck or fault; some are just idiots who are going to break the rules.
 

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
13,265
Location
Fresno, California
Energy Management and Angle of Attack are two biggies in aviation that can help ensure adequate safety margin and keep you in control, but neither is intuitively obvious. Instead, pilots need gauges to tell them the state of either one. Otherwise, the pilot can only learn to recognize signs of being near the edge, such as sluggish controls or deviations from well practiced maneuvers.
 

Little Scrapper

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
5,423
Location
Wisconsin
I guess I'm with TFF on this, once you start flying with Ego nothing else is relevant because sound energy management can only happen in the absence of Ego.

Once you go down that path bad things happen.
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
6,785
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
If sound energy management disappears when ego is present, a lot of people would not be alive right now including me. All of the working airshow pilots use sound energy management techniques, and they all have large, healthy egos.

I will yield to dissenting opinions of any high-time and professional caliber pilots on this forum, but I believe that good energy management is a skill that is not related to ego one way or another.

That said, poor management of the energy in your ego can surpass and render useless any skills you have in managing kinetic and potential energy.
 

Little Scrapper

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
5,423
Location
Wisconsin
I'm not afraid of a discussion, step on in, the water is warm.

Look up the definition of "Ego".

Great aerobatic pilots may push the boundaries but they are very very calculated.

The guy in the video? I don't think he was a world class aerobatic pilot. I doubt the emotions in his head during the stunt had few similarities to what goes through Sean Truckers head.
 

Little Scrapper

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
5,423
Location
Wisconsin
Sean Tucker in his home talking about what goes through his mind. The other guy? Not even close. My opinion.
[video=youtube_share;sEsCh3bA6Xw]https://youtu.be/sEsCh3bA6Xw[/video]
 

Unknown_Target

Active Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
38
Location
Somerville
I might have missed something... where did the concept of cocaine and meth come into this? Was any of that s**t shown to be in his system at the time of this tragedy?

Traces of previous / past drug use in someone's system (in a pilot who is not a current drug user) will not affect their ability to fly safely. I had a very close friend who was a recovering addict, and thanks to recently developed medical treatments/medicines he got himself clean. I flew with him many times, and his technical stick and rudder flying ability was just fine.

Cocaine, meth, heroin, crack... nowhere near as dangerous as testosterone and ego.

I have far far FAR less aerobatic time than some of the guys here on this forum, but I have flown the 7ECA several times and it is an absolutely delightful, well mannered sport and basic acro airplane. It's basically an Aeronca Champ with another 30-50HP
Toxicology report:

The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted forensic toxicology report stated:


No Carbon Monoxide detected in Blood (Cavity);
No Ethanol detected in Vitreous;
2.067 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Urine
0.049 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Cocaethylene detected in Urine
Cocaethylene NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Cocaine detected in Urine
Cocaine NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Ecgonine Methyl Ester detected in Urine
Ecgonine Methyl Ester NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Ibuprofen detected in Urine
Levamisole detected in Urine
Levamisole NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
0.032 (ug/ml, ug/g) Methamphetamine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Methamphetamine detected in Muscle


Benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester are inactive metabolites of cocaine; cocaethylene is a metabolite that is only formed when cocaine is co-ingested with ethanol. Levamisole is commonly used to cut street cocaine. Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter analgesic commonly marketed with the names Advil and Motrin. Methamphetamine is available by prescription for the short-term treatment of narcolepsy and obesity, but is also commonly available on the street.
So nothing conclusive, but it does show that he ingested some sort of drugs at some point in time before the flight. I'm not saying this is proof he was under the influence, just that it may have been a factor. In fact, I would say it's likely it wasn't a factor, given that he had cocaine remnants in his urine but not his blood stream. It was probably just unfortunate timing: maybe a party the night before, he crashes the next day, now his blood contents are for the world to see.
 

wsimpso1

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2003
Messages
6,314
Location
Saline Michigan
Spin recovery from that height may not have been enough. Being able to properly perform the wingover and not enter a spin would have avoided the accident, as would have planning to stay 1500 or more AGL while being able to recover from a spin... Low altitude aerobatics without the waiver makes natural selection much more likely.

Billski
 

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
4,571
Location
US
In fact, I would say it's likely it wasn't a factor, given that he had cocaine remnants in his urine but not his blood stream. It was probably just unfortunate timing: maybe a party the night before, he crashes the next day, now his blood contents are for the world to see.
Yep, just a "casual" meth and cocaine user out for a little low-level aerobatics. Nothing to see here.
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
6,785
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Well that settles it. The oaths and sworn statements administered before receiving a pilot's license need to be changed.

OLD: Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?
NEW: Are you now or have you ever been a Millennial?

OLD: Are you aware of any condition that would impair your ability to safely operate an airplane?
NEW: Are you aware of any rap, hip-hop, or grunge music on your iPod?

OLD: Are you a current holder of a Class 3 or higher FAA medical certificate?
NEW: Are you a current holder of a medical Marijuana card?
 
2
Group Builder
Top