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Stall/Spin accident

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Chupacabra, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra F1 Rookie
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    Well, yesterday was a sobering day. At about 2:00PM, I got a call from my cousin who is a Suffolk, VA Police Officer. He sounded pretty concerned and said he just wanted to make sure I wasn't up because he had received a call to participate in an aircraft down search and rescue. The flight originated from the airport where I keep my plane (Chesapeake, VA) and came down in the Dismal Swamp on the Suffolk side. I immediately called a friend who instructs out there and found that it was a plane from their fleet with an instructor I know and another pilot I sort of know.

    The student (who is a private pilot and was getting checked out in a CZAW Sport Cruiser) was executing a power off stall and, during the recovery phase, the plane yawed severely to the left and entered a tight, extreme nose-down spin. IIRC, they were at about 2,500 feet at the point of stall entry. According to the pilot (who is, by all accounts, a competent pilot) the plane spun at least five times before it responded to the instructor's anti-spin inputs. Keep in mind, the CZAW is not placarded for spins, but I know someone who owns one and spins it anyway (I know, I know...I don't go with 'em) and he has said that it requires quite a bit of altitude to recover. Anyway, by the time the instructor got it under control, they were far too low and the bottom of the aircraft clipped some trees. It rolled over and came to rest inverted in the trees in the middle of the swamp, canopy smashed out. Apparently, the pilot was trying to help the instructor (who banged her head pretty hard on either the panel or the canopy) and ended up falling from the plane and getting knocked out.

    They were very deep in the swamp, so no rescue vehicles could actually access them. The Coast Guard ended up sending a rescue chopper from Elizabeth City, NC to pull them out, and they were airlifted to Norfolk General Hospital. They are pretty banged up, but they are OK. I don't think I have to tell anyone here just how lucky they are.

    Anyway, be careful out there...
     
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  3. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    #2 tazandjan, Dec 22, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
    Spinning aircraft with no record of spin characteristics or documented best spin recovery procedures is dangerous. Not the same thing, but the only time someone intentionally spun an F-111, they lost the aircraft and the crew rode down in the capsule. It had a spin recovery chute, too. Lasted less than 100 ms after they popped it.

    Taz
    Terry Phillips
     
  4. PlaneGuy

    PlaneGuy Rookie

    Oct 29, 2009
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    Not a big LSA fan here... Very low standards for design and build.

    I wish them well, hate to hear about any accidents.
     
  5. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra F1 Rookie
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    Agreed. I've been offered a spin in many an un-certified aircraft, and I have declined every one. I'll stick to the Citabria, thank you very much :) I do wish to stress again, though -- these guys were doing ordinary maneuvers. I've flown the accident airplane a few times, and I wouldn't even think of spinning it. It's pretty squirrely in regular flight...IMO, probably a bit too responsive for a non-aerobatic aircraft designed to be flown by 20 hour pilots sans medicals. I can see how it may be easy to over-control in a low speed situation. From what I understand, the wings on the CZAW are great for absolutely regular flight (plane has a 30 knot stall, IIRC), but do not tolerate any excursions beyond normal maneuvering and lose lift VERY quickly if they become inverted or are otherwise aggravated. It also has an absolutely minuscule rudder, which I'm sure contributes to the length of time required to gain enough authority to recover. For an aircraft that is used for training, I think that may be a flawed design. The thing is rated for +5 Gs, though! ???!!

    PlaneGuy, I'm not in love either (obviously :)
     
  6. sf_hombre

    sf_hombre Formula 3
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    IMHO it's plain nuts to intentionally enter a spin at that altitude.
     
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  8. PlaneGuy

    PlaneGuy Rookie

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    LSA is a Latin Acronym for You are the Test Pilot.
     
  9. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra F1 Rookie
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    #7 Chupacabra, Dec 22, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
    True, but as I said, they were just practicing power off stalls. The spin was purely accidental.

    On second thought, I guess I don't agree with that...I've done spins at 2,500-3,000. Of course, the plane recovers very quickly and is designed for such things.
     
  10. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Spins are the forever elusive phenomena that defy quantification. Not enough tail volume? Not enough wing twist? Not enough dihedral? Not enough rudder? Not enough altitude? The last is the only known factor in the equation as far as I know. If the airplane has not been spin tested successfully DON'T SPIN IT. Some years ago a good friend and Boeing preliminary designer designed a low wing homebuilt. He donned a chute and went up to 5000 ft. to spin test his design. After 5 or six rotations he could not recover and at turn 7 or 8 he decided that he should bail out. As he was descending in his chute he heard a ticking sound and turned to see his airplane at idle spinning down beside him. he watched it all the way down to impact. I asked him why he thought that it wouldn't recover. His answer was, " I don't know. It had a large rudder, plenty of dihedral, and 2 deg. twist but it wouldn't recover." He was age 78 when he bailed out of his little airplane.
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  11. Blue@Heart

    Blue@Heart F1 Rookie

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    +1000
     
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  13. MYMC

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    When training/practicing we always were 2500 agl or more when doing stalls...plenty of room in case something went other than planned.
     
  14. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra F1 Rookie
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    Yep...I know this instructor's typical routine from being up at the same time, and she is always at 2,500 - 3,000 when her students are practicing stalls. In this case, it looks like that saved her bacon, if just barely.

    Just to clarify, one more time (I think it's only fair to those involved), they DID NOT intentionally spin the aircraft...seems like some posts are assuming they did. It was an accident and precisely the sort of scenario the FAA has in mind when it requires spin training for CFIs. Also, I've only spun acro-certified aircraft, but that is more than I can say for some people I know.
     
  15. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    A couple times a year I like to go up with local aerobatic qualified instructor and do spins in a Citabria or Super D. I hate doing them and not very fun, but I believe good for my pilot skills.
     
  16. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    future328driver on here accidently spun either a 172/152 practicing stalls solo before got his private, luckily he had studied stall recovery. I think in the 172 you can just let go and it will recover, although slower than opposite rudder.
     
  17. drjohngober

    drjohngober Formula 3
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    At 52F where Rob and I trained, if I recall correctly the rule was 3000 AGL for any maneuvers. It sounds like the extra 500 ft could have kept them out of the trees.
     
  18. vteqe

    vteqe Formula Junior

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    I took some lessons back in my school days. The instructor, a friend of mine, took us up for time aloft. He proceeded to try a power stall. The engine quit completely followed by at least 4 rotations downward. I was sick for days. That was the last time I was in a small plane (C 150). I decided at that point to go back to the sea.
     
  19. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra F1 Rookie
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    This is true.

    I flew over the accident site today. Not hospitable terrain, by any means, of course what else can you expect from an area called The Great Dismal Swamp? The forrest service is freaking out because the plane is still there, but I don't believe the NTSB has finished all of their investigation. Anyone know who will be responsible for the removal? I would guess the owner of the aircraft, but I don't know. I just hope I never have to find out for myself. It won't be easy to remove...unless it is completely disassembled, it will probably take a chopper.

    The pilot who was in the accident came out and got back in the saddle today. Unfortunately, the instructor is still in the hospital with bone fragments from her spinal column causing some trouble, some ligaments torn in her wrist, and facial injuries. I'm going to try to pay her a visit tomorrow.
     
  20. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra F1 Rookie
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    Apparently, it happens more than we think. I was always a little apprehensive during my PPL training and always burned holes through the ball and heading indicator with my eyes during a stall.

    I have a feeling that if they had been in a Cessna, this may have been a non-event.
     
  21. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    I , too, have lived with the sea and with the airplane. Sometimes one is not comfortable with the air. Sometimes one isn't at home with the sea. I like both and I'm thankful for that. But I think that if you had been exposed to a less traumatic experience you would be more comfortable in the air. Some of us have to be gradually introduced to the unique sensations of flight and sometimes enjoy them once they are understood. I would try it again.
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  22. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    I was like this too, but after the private just practicing stalls I was having a problem with a wing dropping. Instructor told me to forget the ball and just look out the window and go on feel, I have had clean breaking stalls since then.
     
  23. drjohngober

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    Merry Christmas Rob,
    Nice outside today eh? I am pretty open if you want to go practice some stalls this afternoon. Beautiful Texas weather.
     
  24. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    up in Kansas right now, are you in the same blizard we're in?
     
  25. drjohngober

    drjohngober Formula 3
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    Just got in from the in laws. Slipped quite a but as we were in the Continental GT.The snow here is unbelievable. 183 looks like a crash up derby race, so we took the back roads.
    Tons of snow. Did you fly to Kansas? If you did, be safe.Merry Christmas.
     
  26. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    drove because of the 2 dogs, wouldn't have been able to fly anyway. 200 AGL and 30-40 MPH winds. Just had a good family trip to Angel Fire in Marcair's T182T last week though.
     
  27. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra F1 Rookie
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    #24 Chupacabra, Dec 29, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Yikes! I just talked to the operator of the plane...they did some structural reinforcements to the cockpit area while the plane was in for a gear repair that required reskinning. They were a little nervous about the crash worthiness of the a/c. The only area of the airframe that did not buckle is the cockpit. The engine separated and the still-spinning prop ended up about a foot from their heads. Wow.
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  28. zygomatic

    zygomatic F1 Rookie
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    Wow indeed. Thank God for (in this case) big favors.
     

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