Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Reno Air Race Crash - Some facts and some BS

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
 
titaniumsalute Donating Member (558 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 08:44 PM
Original message
Reno Air Race Crash - Some facts and some BS
Edited on Mon Sep-19-11 09:12 PM by titaniumsalute
I've been a pilot for many years. I'm not a comemrcial pilot but I have flown many types of aircraft. I used to fly an Extra 300 stunt plane and some other very high performance planes. I read all of these "theories" from various blogs about what happened. The answer is we really don't know much of anything.

One rule of thumb in flying is that if one thing goes wrong you can usually correct it. If two things go wrong you can most likely correct it but you really need to focus on priorities and a solution to each problem. If three things go wrong you really strat to have some major problems.

We don't know if one thing or a host of things went wrong. It is certain that the trim tab (small piece of the elevator that is used to fine-tune the straight flight altitude adjustments) was detached and no longer on the plane before it crashed. I have read that controlling the elevator (done with the pilot's hands through controls) would be easy after the trim tab malfunstioned and detached from the plane. Well that is easy to say if you are flying straight and level at an 8,000 ft altitude with a constant speed. Yes, if the elevator trim fell off of a Cessna 172 or 182 (or something similar) it would be fairly easy to overcome.

As a pilot who has experienced low-level altitude flying at high speeds of rate I can tell you that a small variable, such as a trim tab malfunction, can be a major crisis. At 400 - 500 knots at 300 ft AGL (above ground level altitude) a small "problem" is a major problem.

In addition, I have seen the photos of the pilot that seems to be "missing" from the cockpit. While in a "normal" P-51 you can see a seated pilot many air race and other high performance planes you have a more horizontal seating within the plane. I've flown Lanceair Planes where you nearly lay down in the seats. All you can see is the top of my head while rolling down a runway. It is possible at 74 there could have been a health emergency with the pilot. That doesn't explain the trim tab situation but if two things combined at the same time it could be very bad at such high speeds and low altitude.

Last, we can analyze this stuff to death. In the world I have come to realize that stuff just "happens." It is very sad to see people die but that is a risk you take when you go to things like airshows, boat shows, race tracks, fireworks, etc.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
rsmith6621 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'll Wait For The NTSB


...findings,I have patients.... I am also a PP and an unemployed flight dispatcher.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
titaniumsalute Donating Member (558 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I agree
They are SO thorough that they will be able to determine what happens. I was just trying to educate a little since I have been hearing so many myths about what could have happened.

I've been in all kinds of weird situations, mostly through forced situations in training or flight simulations, but I don't think anything can ever really prepare you for a malfunction at 500 knots and 300 ft. There's just nearly no time to think, act and recover in that time span.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bullwinkle428 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. Is the Extra 300 the type of aircraft that competes in the Red Bull
air race series?

I've been thinking about the possibility of medical situation with Leeward, and that he may very well have been no more than an unconscious passenger in a deadly missile over the final seconds of that flight.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
titaniumsalute Donating Member (558 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yes it is
That is an extra 300. Of course a crash can always result from a health problem with a pilot. I'm only 36 years old but you never know what can happen. He was 74 and obviously vital organs can always end up with a problem.

It still doesn't answer the missing trim tab malfunction. It could be a coincidence that both a mechanical malfunction and a health malfunction happened at the same time.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bullwinkle428 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Do you think the trim tab situation could have been exacerbated by
the modifications to the plane; specifically, the wingspan being shortened by 10 feet?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
titaniumsalute Donating Member (558 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 07:16 AM
Response to Reply #10
17. The wing span wouldn't have anything to do with the trim tab
However a shorter wing span basically reduces the "lift" forces on the airplane overall. In other words it would have a higher stall speed and make it "sloppy" while flying at lower speeds. But I don't think there's any additional forces due to shorter wing spans.

I would say, however, unless somehow modified, the larger than normal forces on the aircraft could have had impact on the trim tab. There's some serious G-forces on that craft and ove rtime I can certainly have an impact on the plane (and pilot.)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
BlueJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 09:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. Could the G-forces in those type of aircraft been too stressful for an older pilot?
I know little about high-speed flying...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
titaniumsalute Donating Member (558 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 07:18 AM
Response to Reply #5
18. Yes
Edited on Tue Sep-20-11 07:19 AM by titaniumsalute
G - forces are weird. When you first experience them it is really not fun feelings. You learn how to "deal" with them until they become second nature therefore when you are flying stunts you don't think of the forces...just completing the stunt. I personally never really liked the experience of the G-s and always felt like it was so unnatural that I didn't like doing it to my body. I only stunt flew for about 2 years and decided going home to my kids was more important than my hobby.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
EnviroBat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #18
24. I've experienced effects of G's in a Cessna 152.
Just doing a few tight turns in basically a Volkswagen with wings was enough to make the blood leave my head for a few seconds. I've always admired you guys that can fly an Extra or a Pitts. I can't imagine how intense some of those maneuvers must be. I never did any snap-rolls in a Cessna, that would have torn the wings off. But I will admit that spin awareness flight training was a riot that no roller-coaster can come close to.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
pa28 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
6. Yeah, I think more than one factor is at work here.
Edited on Mon Sep-19-11 09:43 PM by pa28
I'm also a private pilot and I developed the habit of looking at accidents and accident reports. Usually you can tell what happened before the report comes out but it seems like there might be additional circumstances at work here.

A trim tab stuck at a weird angle or one missing entirely might be a very big deal at that speed and altitude but I'm still skeptical of the idea a trim tab alone could have caused this accident. I can only recall a few cases where mechanical or structural failure was cited as the only cause so maybe this is a good time to shrug our shoulders and wait for the report.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Proles Donating Member (229 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
7. A private pilot here as well,
and it did seem to be some sort of medical-related issue -- but who knows.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
8. Couple of additional items to consider
When in a race, if you have a problem, the correct protocol is to pull up and away. No one seems to know if that was the pilot's original intent or not.

Some aircraft designs require the servo tab to be controllable. Arguably also a trim tab, they can be critical for some aircraft. Not sure if that is true in this case or not.



There is much unanswered and getting those answers will take time. Until then the M$M and other aviation illiterates are driving me nuts over this. Thanks for trying to bring some rationality to this.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Shagbark Hickory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
9. Al Quaeda. In cooperation with the government.
Clearly. :tinfoilhat:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
marzipanni Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
11. I was looking for a previous photo of the pilot flying that plane
I found a description of what another pilot racing a P-51 experienced after loss of the same trim tab- fortunately he went to 9,000 feet when he came to, which gave him time to recover.
It's halfway down the page- below the 5th photo-
http://www.warbird.com/voodoo.html
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #11
25. Interesting.
It is my speculation (after reading that) that a similar thing must have happened at the Reno show.

But I'm not a pilot.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
12. Speculation is pretty useless at this point.
Edited on Mon Sep-19-11 10:56 PM by The Velveteen Ocelot
I teach a college course that involves analyzing aviation accidents. One thing I've learned is that when an accident occurs people immediately jump to conclusions about the cause based on preliminary media reports and witness descriptions. Often these are completely wrong, and the cause turns out to be something else altogether, maybe something nobody suspected. In this case it very well could be the loss of the trim tab, or maybe the loss of the trim tab was caused by something else. Maybe it was pilot incapacitation. Maybe it was a combination of things.

The NTSB will do what they can to reconstruct the wreck (and they are amazingly good at this), and they'll look at the photos and videos, and they'll look at the records of the airplane's modifications and the pilot's background and everything else you can think of, and in about a year they will come up with a probable cause finding.

I've seen some fairly weird theories already, but right now it's all speculation.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
13. The Galloping Ghost had electronic montoring devices.....
National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind on Sunday described this realization, as well as the discovery of information and pieces that may have come from the devices, as "significant new information." It was also not entirely expected, given the size and nature of the P-51 aircraft.

"I'm not aware of a lot of aircraft having it, this is the first one I came across," said Howard Plagens, who is the NTSB official heading the investigation.

Countering earlier reports, Rosekind said on Sunday that Leeward did not send a "Mayday call," indicating he was in distress.

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-09-18/us/nevada.plane.cras...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
marzipanni Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
14. delete- dupe-
Edited on Mon Sep-19-11 11:40 PM by marzipanni
computer said post hadn't gone through
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
15. There are some extremely good photos showing the trim tab coming off.
As the Ghost pulls up and rolls, it can be seen trailing off the back edge of the elevator, attached on only one end. Then, it comes off.

At the speed these aircraft are racing at, the trim tab is set VERY nose down. Under these circumstances a sudden loss of the tab will cause a drastic and immediate pitch up. G induced loss of consciousness would be the likely result, and it has happened before. The Ghost's tail wheel is also clearly extended in the photos, which may be further evidence of a high G pull up.

I would post these photos but they aren't mine and they haven't been published yet as far as I know. I expect they will be public soon because they are so amazingly clear and detailed, showing the sequence of the tab as it comes off and falls away from the aircraft. They've been forwarded to the NTSB. The acquaintance that took them also told me that the impact crater appeared to be about 3 feet deep and 10 feet across.

This is a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to all those who were injured or killed, and their families.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sfpcjock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 01:19 AM
Response to Original message
16. Today they said that what the pilot was talking about in the tape piece
was really that they had recently shortened the airplane's wingspan by a total of about 10 feet which they said could have changed the flight characteristics a lot. Also, the trimtab issue that you mentioned. Two potential issues.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
pangaia Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 07:58 AM
Response to Original message
19. Are you really a pilot?
Somehow,I don't quite think so. Maybe I am wrong.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Why do you make such an assertion?
Edited on Tue Sep-20-11 08:18 AM by Javaman
your question doesn't even 1) refer to anything 2) make sense.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #19
26. Are you really here to add to this conversation?
Somehow,I don't quite think so. Maybe I am wrong.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
David Sky Donating Member (586 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
21. I think you raise great points, but I would rather see us
suspend air shows where these risks seem to be so ever present.

What is the purpose of these air shows?

Why hold them a few hundred feet above places filled with human beings? We don't allow human beings out onto runways at traditional airports with planes up above. Why do air shows allow this?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. It was the National Air Races, not an airshow for starters...a world of difference
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
warrior1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 08:26 AM
Response to Original message
22. Check the photo out in the link
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

This is when his plane is inverted and from this angle it seems to show his helmet. What do you make of that?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cestode Donating Member (9 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-20-11 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
27. A crash is always a risk at an airshow or air race.
There are significant risks when aircraft fly at high speeds and/or at low altitudes over or near large gatherings of people.
I once saw a Nimrod R1 crash in front of me at a Toronto air show.....scary.

n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Sep 30th 2014, 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC