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Jim Meade

N521CT Crashed Racine WI 17 May 21

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Here's a couple views of the location, airplane would have flown over other buildings to make it as far as it did, and was working with a 4400 runway, does not look like an overshot landing at face value (as Kathryns report indicates) - will be interesting to see what the pilots account is and FAA report.  Appears to me an aborted take off, tried to stick it in that little field straight ahead, and landed hot & long.

And yes, these CT's do the pilot well in some hard impacts.

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And on the popular topic of "too chute, or not to chute", here's today's scenario:  You just departed this runway, approaching the end of runway perhaps 200' up the engine quits, staring at the options you're faced with limited landing areas - grab the red handle?  I think I would. 

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15 minutes ago, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

And on the popular topic of "too chute, or not to chute", here's today's scenario:  You just departed this runway, approaching the end of runway perhaps 200' up the engine quits, staring at the options you're faced with limited landing areas - grab the red handle?  I think I would. 

I think that's a perfect chute scenario.  Low altitude, low airspeed, limited landing options.  A really good time to reach for the "ownership transfer handle".

In fact, I think the pre-takeoff checklist could benefit from an item that says something like:

* ENGINE OUT BELOW PATTERN ALT - Strongly Consider BRS.

Not truly a checklist item, but it puts it in the pilot's mind before each takeoff.  

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I agree with Darrell and Andy.  I'd pull the chute.  Good idea to add this for a checklist item Andy.  This is why it is good to have a forum to discuss things.  I wouldn't have know about this accident until maybe later when reading accident reports.  I could have an engine failure tomorrow and could be in a similar scenario as this one.  Altitude and surroundings will dictate whether I'd pull the 'chute but I'll be thinking about the possibility of needing to do so.

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Hello everyone. We certainly share in the concern  and interest in the situation that we had Monday evening. Please refrain from being a Monday morning quaterback. At this point it is not helpful to anyone to be telling others what you think happened. I do know all the facts and because the FAA and NTSB have not contacted us or obviously haven't finished a report, it is not appropriate for me or anyone else to try to and decide what happened.

I know you are all interested and we can all learn from an experience like this, but it does take some time to evaluate the entire situation.

I don't know who writes "Kathryns report" but I can tell you it is not at all accurate. I don't know what kind of problem the Battalion Chief has either that he can't tell the difference between a male and female.

Please do not ask me for more details than I will provide below. We will leave it to authorities to do their job. This incident will provide plenty of things to think about for both training and future flights.

This was a solo cross-country flight by a female student that has demonstrated skills and good judgement in her past flights, all appropriate for the hours she has logged. It was not an overrun of the runway, it was a go around.

It is easy, after the fact to say, " she should have or I would have done this or that". The truth is none of use truly know how we will react when put into a real live situation like she was. That is why we try to train for as many what ifs as we can. The mind is a very complicated thing and fear can cause you make some decisions that are not the best.

In these situations, there are usually multiple actions that can be used to achieve the final outcome. In my opinion, the decisions she made or didn't make and any mistake she may have made,  the final outcome is optimal.

She is alive and basically uninjured. She was able to get out of the wreck by herself, prior to arrival of anyone. She started make phone calls to her sister and instructor before help arrived.

She was taken to the hospital where she received 3 stich's on her leg and was discharged that night. She is in good spirits and even attended our Saturday morning plane washing and cookout. She plans to get back on the horse as soon as possible.

I will share more information when appropriate and will also share what changes we determine appropriate to training and flying the CTLS.

Thank you for your understanding and respect to this situation.

 

 

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I'm glad she is ok. Also sounds like she hasn't given up on flying, which is awesome! My best to her...

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On 5/19/2021 at 6:44 AM, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

And on the popular topic of "too chute, or not to chute", here's today's scenario:  You just departed this runway, approaching the end of runway perhaps 200' up the engine quits, staring at the options you're faced with limited landing areas - grab the red handle?  I think I would. 

Is there anything that gives us an indication that the parachute can be successfully deployed that low?  My hope is yes.  

With the Cirrus, which I understand is different from the CT in many respects, it's been demonstrated with numerous data points that under 500' there isn't time for it to deploy.

Appreciate any info on this.

Andy

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3 hours ago, andyb said:

Is there anything that gives us an indication that the parachute can be successfully deployed that low?  My hope is yes.  

With the Cirrus, which I understand is different from the CT in many respects, it's been demonstrated with numerous data points that under 500' there isn't time for it to deploy.

Appreciate any info on this.

Andy

It's an unknown for our airplanes..."not enough data collected."  Somebody told me a BRS in a CT was successfully deployed overseas at a height of 60ft, but it was in response to a botched go-around and the airplane was not in a dramatic descent at the time. 

As I think I have mentioned, I don't really have minimums for the BRS.  If I think I need it, I'll use it.  I can't really envision a scenario where it's going to harm the outcome, other than maybe a high altitude deployment when the airplane is on fire...

Even if you don't get a full deployment, you will get some drag chute effects from it which could blunt the impact energy.

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30 minutes ago, FlyingMonkey said:

It's an unknown for our airplanes..."not enough data collected."  Somebody told me a BRS in a CT was successfully deployed overseas at a height of 60ft, but it was in response to a botched go-around and the airplane was not in a dramatic descent at the time. 

I am pretty sure that was the one in Morocco,  and it went off the end of the runway and over a cliff. 

I was told by someone who was once part of the Flight Design team a figure of 165. That is not a published number, and I don't know if it is a valid number. Like others have said ifif it is a choice between pulling at 165 or a definite crash, I think I would pull the chute.

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4 hours ago, Andy said:

Here's an article from Flying magazine about that: How It Works: BRS Aircraft Parachute | Flying (flyingmag.com).  I personally use 300 ft as my minimum altitude for a pull for engine out; if you're out of control, you've got nothing to lose by pulling and hoping it works. 


I think a big part of how low can you use the BRS is how fast you’re moving forward. IE - more airspeed equals more air to open the chute behind you. This is VS how quickly you’re descending. Less airspeed and greater sink rate equals you need more altitude for the chute to open. 
 

As to chute or not chute - if you survive relatively uninjured then whatever decision you made was a good one. 

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I promised to fill you in on this accident and here it is.

I will describe her flight and then follow with the results.

A student solo cross country. She went to her first airport and described it as a perfect flight. At her second airport while slowing down and getting into the landing pattern, the plane began to shake and she couldn't slow it down.  The first attempt was aborted because there was a coyote on the runway. The next two attempts were aborted because she could not slow the plane down and it was shaking. Then she decided to proceed to her home base. The plane was performing fine from there to home base about 20 miles away.

Arriving at home base she described the same results and made three attempts at landing and then crashed.

First 3 attempts at second airport on 4300 strip. Departure end has open fields.

Home base,  one runway 6574 feet and 4422 on the runway she chose to use. Both plenty long but no place to land after the end of any runways. 

9,990 foot runway 11 miles north at another airport. Towered airport so there is help available.

While in the pattern another pilot in the pattern radioed her and suggested she take the longer runway and then the crash happened.

Pilot safe and only had 3 stiches to her leg. In the hospital that night she told me that on the last attempted go around, at about 150 feet, she raised the flaps. We know that is not good.

In my opinion, in her situation she did everything perfect. Only based on the final result being that she is alive and uninjured. While this is what she did, I would not recommend  what she did to anyone, I doubt the results would be the same. She is our local miracle.

We can all sit safe on the ground and talk about what we would have done or what she should have done. The reality is that our brains all work differently and in a moment of terror that I imagine she was in, we don't really know how we will react. We talk, we train and simulate these situations but there are many things that affect how we ultimately react. Of course as pilots we like to think we will do the right thing but there is no guarantee.

There were many choices that could have been made other than the ones that she chose.

First thing is to know your airplane. Why wouldn't the plane slow down and why was it shaking? Stop reading here and give yourself a moment to think about what was going on.

 

 

 

 

In our CT's we have dual carbs. If one of the throttle cables should break, that carb will go to full power. Everything will appear fine at high throttle but when reducing power you will have an unbalanced carb situation, one carb high power and one low power. This is what causes the shaking and inability to slow down for a landing. In this case the left throttle cable broke.

Here are some choices that could have been made. There may be more.

At the second airport you could have chosen to use the runway with clear departure end so if you over run, it was empty fields.

You could have done a dead-stick landing. Is everyone sure what this means? Will your brain allow you to react properly? Sometimes your brain will not accept the fact that you must use the key and turn the engine off. You could pull the  chute but even then  you need to be turn off the key and be at a sufficient altitude. True dead-stick landings are not usually practiced so it is only discussed. In the case of students, I believe a special effort must be make that the student absolutely  understands and is willing to turn the key off if needed.

Not understanding why the plane is reacting the way it was is another area of concern. In this type of situation would you stay at an airport and try to resolve the situation or decide to travel 20 miles to your home base? 

When  deciding to leave this airport and still having the problem, would you head to your home base or detour to an airport with a runway that is twice as long and has help available.

When arriving at home base, would it have been wiser to use the longer runway?

Any of the available runways would be fine if you do a dead-stick landing. I believe what brought her down was brining flaps up at 150 feet on the go around attempt. Who can say, she is alive and uninjured.

So what happened to the throttle cable? Are you familiar with how this can  happen? The cable breaks between where it comes out of the housing and attaches to the lever on the carb. It attaches to the carb thru a pin and is locked down by tightening this connection. Do you know that there is a specific torque for that connection?  If that connection is too tight by over torqueing or dirt or corrosion, it will not swivel. It must swivel. If it does not swivel, each time you move the throttle it will bend slightly and over time it will work harden and eventually break.

In  a flight school situation the throttle cable gets much more use than most of you will put yours thru in the life of the airplane so you may never experience this. The cost of replacing the cables is minimal. To replace both cables with parts and labor should only be about $100. You may want to consider this as a routine maintenance item. This is the second one we have had break in 11 years. The first was 10 years ago, in the pattern and with an instructor on board.

I post this here not as a debatable subject, but something to think about and review your emergency procedures. If you do your own maintenance and even if you have a certified mechanic work on your plane, make sure everyone is familiar with how things like this can happen.

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I have changed several over the years, because of damage where it attaches to the throttle arm. It takes longer to get the tools out to make the cables than it takes to actually make them, and it doesn't take long to install them either. The proper tool to crimp the end is kind of pricey. The cost of parts is less than $5. The one positive about how our airplanes are set up is that the throttles go wide open. Many airplanes the throttle goes to idle. I would much rather have wide open with choices, than closed without.

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For the discussion back in May about engine loss at low altitude on departure - as a charter pilot I was taught to verbalize a departure briefing.  In short, before departure it  was "if I lose power before rotation......if I lose power after rotation.(fill in the blanks for your aircraft).   That departure briefing could be a checklist item, but the briefing would be individual for each situation and not a canned set of actions.

Nice maintenance tip on the throttle cable.  

Could she have talked to anyone at the departure airport and received any help in determining the problem?

If she understood the engine well enough and was sufficiently briefed in her ground training, maybe with some help she could have figured out it was one carb.  The engine ran fine when she pushed the throttle forward.  I'm not doubting the situation was frightening and confusing.  My question is would training and emphasis have given her the tools to recognize the problem?  It's a good reminder we should teach this.

I'm a glider pilot and I've done at least 2 dozen dead stick (engine shut off) landings in my CTSW.  I don't propose that a neophyte should do that without supervision, but surely she was taught to do an engine out procedure as she was cleared for solo.  If that is the case, she should not have been terrified of an engine out landing on runways that long.  My guess is the FSDO is going to have a long talk with the CFI.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the detailed report.   We know that our throttles go to full power with a cable break -  However, just like Tip mentioned, I too never thought of what happens when one cables breaks - and duh, this is what is likely to happen right LOL.   What are the chances of both breaking at the same time ? Wow - Glad to learn from this incident,  more regular checking of cables, and again am glad the pilot made it through this.    As to being as prepared as possible;  yeah it takes alot of discipline to constantly verbalize the plan prior to take off (or whatever maneuver).   I follow on Insta Missionary Bush Pilot Ryan and he is great at repeating his plan/course of action on every single flight-  i try to do the same.   

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On 9/4/2021 at 9:22 PM, Jim Meade said:

For the discussion back in May about engine loss at low altitude on departure - as a charter pilot I was taught to verbalize a departure briefing.  In short, before departure it  was "if I lose power before rotation......if I lose power after rotation.(fill in the blanks for your aircraft).   That departure briefing could be a checklist item, but the briefing would be individual for each situation and not a canned set of actions.

Nice maintenance tip on the throttle cable.  

Could she have talked to anyone at the departure airport and received any help in determining the problem?

If she understood the engine well enough and was sufficiently briefed in her ground training, maybe with some help she could have figured out it was one carb.  The engine ran fine when she pushed the throttle forward.  I'm not doubting the situation was frightening and confusing.  My question is would training and emphasis have given her the tools to recognize the problem?  It's a good reminder we should teach this.

I'm a glider pilot and I've done at least 2 dozen dead stick (engine shut off) landings in my CTSW.  I don't propose that a neophyte should do that without supervision, but surely she was taught to do an engine out procedure as she was cleared for solo.  If that is the case, she should not have been terrified of an engine out landing on runways that long.  My guess is the FSDO is going to have a long talk with the CFI.

 

 

 

Jim, 

You made me think.  It isn't important for the pilot to realize that he is operating with one carb and it's throttle is stuck wide open.

What the pilot needs to know is that he has normal operations with WOT only and landing is problematic when throttled back.  That's all any pilot needs to know to see a deadstock landing is called for.

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And if the deadstick approach is not looking good for whatever reasons, I'd not be afraid to attempt a restart and power back up, either briefly or a go around.  Having a good slip routine is helpful in these scenarios, low / slow and short is a bad deal too.  Or if you're really struggling to make it work, grab the red handle.  

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Good point, Ed.

As far as powering back up from power off while in the air, I've done that on more than one occasion.  My experience is that the DynonD100/120  avionics will recycle.  That might be disconcerting to a student pilot.  I haven't tried it with my new SkyView Dynon so can't speak to that.  I should do it.

 

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