Micron CEO crashes his Lancair

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rtfm

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Hi,
It is always sad to hear about someone dying in a light plane crash, and I feel for his family and others close to him.

However, the most telling sentence in the report is:
Ada County dispatch received reports of a plane that was on fire before it landed, and airport spokeswoman Patti Miller said the aircraft was a fixed-wing prop plane Lancair, which is built from kits
First, the plane was on fire before it landed? I'm not sure I've ever heard of something like that before. If that were truly the case, what options are available? None, it would seem. Irrespective of whether or not one has a sliding/gullwing/pivoting bubble (as per a recent discussion on the relative safety of different types of canopy opening mechanisms).

But in the longer run, for me the more telling phrase is this: "which is built from kits..." There is something so Heath Robinson sounding about this. Built from kits. Cheap and nasty and unsafe. That's what the public thinks when they read that phrase. And nothing could be further from the truth - especially with reference to the Lancair. Furniture built from kits is nasty compared to solid store-bought furniture. Kit clotheslines are shonky and have a half-life measured in months, not years. The general perception, I think, is that a kit built item is likely to revert to its constituent parts without too much encouragement.

This is a bit of a rant, and there is really nothing I or anyone else can do about this perception, but it is a pity nonetheless.

Regards,
Duncan
 

addaon

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Grab the fire extinguisher, do what you can. If it's an engine fire, shut cowl flaps and cut off fuel flow. If it's electrical, hit the master switch, and pull any breakers that bypass the master. Get down quick.
 

SVSUSteve

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First, the plane was on fire before it landed? I'm not sure I've ever heard of something like that before. If that were truly the case, what options are available? None, it would seem. Irrespective of whether or not one has a sliding/gullwing/pivoting bubble (as per a recent discussion on the relative safety of different types of canopy opening mechanisms).
Lots of people mistakenly report that they see smoke or fire from aircraft before crashes. Unless the person is a pilot or A&P I tend to take it with a hefty grain of salt.
 

SVSUSteve

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Grab the fire extinguisher, do what you can. If it's an engine fire, shut cowl flaps and cut off fuel flow. If it's electrical, hit the master switch, and pull any breakers that bypass the master. Get down quick
Yeah, there's a reason why I'm including a dual fire extinguisher system in the cowling of my larger design. The smaller design (the LSA), I'll just bail out. With passengers, it's not exactly an option.
 

SVSUSteve

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Two things that give me nightmares. One is burning to death and the other is suffocating in an avalanche.
Drowning is my #1 fear right up there with dying in a fire or smoke environment. A surprising number of folks actually drown after plane crashes or ditchings (approximately 8% of deaths according to one paper that's currently under peer review).
 

topspeed100

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Grab the fire extinguisher, do what you can. If it's an engine fire, shut cowl flaps and cut off fuel flow. If it's electrical, hit the master switch, and pull any breakers that bypass the master. Get down quick.

The Big Frog crash they did just that few days ago.
 

SVSUSteve

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The Big Frog crash they did just that few days ago.

Big Frog? Is that anything like the Hypno-Toad from Futurama? ;)
[video=youtube;5ZmvkOR0oTQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZmvkOR0oTQ[/video]

BTW, I know the crash you're talking about....
 
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Inverted Vantage

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I don't know of much in a civvy aircraft that would cause a fire like this. Perhaps insufficiently sealed tanks dripping on an exposed electrical wire? Where are the tanks in the Lancair? Where on the plane was the fire coming from? Was it smoke or fire?
 

SVSUSteve

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I don't know of much in a civvy aircraft that would cause a fire like this.
The short list:
-Fuel line rupture/separation
-Oil line rupture/separation
-Uncontained engine failure (fracture of a cylinder head, etc)
-Electrical short
-Dropped cigarette
-Hydraulic fluid leak (in aircraft with hydraulically operated landing gear, etc)

There are PLENTY of sources for an in-flight fire on-board a small civilian aircraft. These are just the ones that come to mind.

Where on the plane was the fire coming from? Was it smoke or fire?
We don't know that yet so far as I can tell. Honestly, it sounds more like the crash preceded the fire, not the other way around. Let's wait until the NTSB preliminary comes out before we engage in any further speculation.
 

autoreply

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Keliher, of the NTSB, said the crash happened during Appleton's second attempt to fly that morning. She said Appleton's first take-off ended abruptly — witnesses said the plane only got about 5 feet (1.5 meters) off the ground — when he re-landed and returned to a hangar for about five minutes.Keliher said witnesses reported that the plane then returned to the runway to take off again, but Appleton almost immediately told the tower he needed to turn around and re-land. His plane was about 100 or 200 feet (30 or 60 meters) in the air before witnesses say it crashed and caught fire. Appleton's body was thrown from the wreckage.
So don't take off if you have unresolved engine problems...
 

SVSUSteve

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Yeah.....that was my thought. I honestly wonder if it's not going to be something absolutely ridiculous. The guy seems to have a death wish to begin with or a very least a distinct disrespect/disregard for common sense.
 

Dana

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The guy seems to have a death wish to begin with or a very least a distinct disrespect/disregard for common sense.
I don't see that. The media always paints small airplanes (or off road driving, another of his hobbies) as dangerous, and an experimental homebuilt airplane, oh my God, that's suicidal!... when people riding motorcycles on the highway (statistically just as risky) doesn't even raise an eyebrow.

-Dana

Everybody who lives, dies, but not everybody who dies, has lived.
 

TFF

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The plane was a Lancair IVP-TP. No rinky dink Lancair 235; that thing costs a half a mil dollars. They are only professionally built despite the experimental rating.
 

JIC

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Seems to be a lot of speculation here on the crash of Steve Appleton.
Let me clear up some of it, if I may; I live here in Idaho just 20 miles west of Boise where the crash happen.
I watched all the news on it yesterday,in fact that was all that was on the local news.
1. They have not determined yet if the plane was on fire before the crash or it caught fire after the crash.
2. Witneses say that the plane banked, stalled and rolled and hit the ground upside down.
3. He had aborted an attemped take off and went back to his hanger, just minutes before he took off again and crashed.
4. They have video of the aircraft and the crash from the security camera's at the airport, They have not been released
to the media,or if they ever will be.
5. He was a well qualified pilot, and had lot of time in high performance aircraft.
One note I may add here, no matter how many hours or how qualified you are as a pilot, one small mistake can kill you.
Be Careful.

jic
 

Topaz

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I don't see that. The media always paints small airplanes (or off road driving, another of his hobbies) as dangerous, and an experimental homebuilt airplane, oh my God, that's suicidal!... when people riding motorcycles on the highway (statistically just as risky) doesn't even raise an eyebrow.

-Dana

Everybody who lives, dies, but not everybody who dies, has lived.
His rep was as something of a risk-taker, with a passion for adrenaline-junkie pursuits above and beyond flying. It was reported yesterday that this was his second airplane crash.

Still, totally insufficient information yet on this accident. From what JIC is listing, it sounds like an attempted-return-to-runway stall/spin, IMHO. We'll just have to wait for what the NTSB says.
 
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