All we can do is theorize, so let's wait until the report before we question the pilot's personal skills/safety?
The NTSB prelim report stated he was a Commercial Pilot. With that in mind his personal skills should have been sufficient. If they weren't then he should have reverted to a PPL.
First job I flew skydivers out of a shortish paddock with longer then desired grass and trees at the end (one way takeoff). It had a windsock and after pacing the length, worked out the speed I need to be at as I passed the windsock. Reject decision made even before the preflight. I had a massive 300 hours with an exceptional 25 on type. Was I being cautious due to inexperience and would I do the same now with several thousand bug smasher hours or would I become complacent as it appears (speculation) in this case?
It will be interesting to see the experience of the crash test dummy.
All we can do is theorize, so let's wait until the report before we question the pilot's personal skills/safety
Well... When the theorizing is based only upon speculating about the unknown causal factors in an accident, I would agree, and try to behave accordingly,
This accident, however affords us the ability to watch the event in real time, and overlay our own decision making and thresholds on what we see. Okay, perhaps they were being chased by hundreds of horseback Taliban, or the passengers were all critical care medics who were caring for an unseen injured child... but other than that I saw a takeoff attempt which was continued beyond reason and safety. I remain critical of the decision making which caused that accident, and I don't see any mitigating factors to justify it....
I have no knowledge of the accident report, but I speculate that it will/does say something like: "The pilot continued the takeoff attempt when the aircraft's performance was not adequate for the conditions".
I think that where everybody lived, and is walking and talking, it does move the goalposts a bit. There is no particular need to respect the dead or the feelings of surviving relatives - and those involved have the right and ability to come and defend their actions should they wish.
There's a similar discussion going on on the Stinson owners group at the moment; more technical and type specific (and with many contributors who are used to flying Stinsons hot'n'high), but not a lot more sympathetic.
The issue with respect to shoulder belts has been settled for awhile. The NTSB, FAA, TC, CAA, etc etc all have universally recognized the worth of shoulder belts. Without one even a relatively mild crashes will cause the person to bend around the lap belt slamming their face into the knobs and bolts sticking out of the instrument panel. Use of shoulder belts has greatly reduced head and facial injuries in crashes.
The good news is that you see many examples of very bad accidents with the wings and tail ripped off but the cabin area still basically intact. In addition the usual situation during a crash is that the engine mount will rip away from the firewall and fold under the aircraft or to one side. The ones where it goes into the cabin usually involve hitting the ground at a very steep nose down attitude and are almost invariably fatal.
The bottom line from my POV is any pilot that does not wear fitted shoulder belts is a fool and I will not personally fly an aircraft that is not fitted with shoulder belts .
Last edited by Big Pistons Forever; 11th Aug 2012 at 23:11.
one which we have no solid knowledge about what caused it.
Actually I think we can be pretty sure what caused it. Going into hot and high mountain airports with a fully loaded plane which is under powered is a recepie for disaster.
Someone I know checked out a couple of experienced UK airline pilots on a Archer III. Next day three turned up with their luggage to go flying and in chatting he found out that they were planning to fly to Big Bear in the mountains. 30C and 6700' elevation. No you're not he said.....
Just an observation based upon a couple of posts here.
I've been nearly killed once by a recently retired commercial pilot:15,000 hrs and it turned out had forgotten most of the airmanship he had presumably once known about operating single engine piston aeroplanes.
Holding a commercial licence and having been flying for a lot of years (as, being 70, this chap presumably had) does not necessarily indicate that somebody knows how to safely operate a small aeroplane with a whirly thing on the front.
I suspect the final NTSB report may not shed much more light on this accident but perhaps Leslie Gropp the pilot may be prepared to share his reflections on the incident once any legal stuff has been settled I'd be interested to know how much experience he's had of operating from high elevation airfields. My impression was that he was local so maybe quite a lot. I've only taken off from high elevation fields (two up in 172s in Arizona) a couple of times and they were lower than this one but I do remember the apparently excessive length of take off roll so that may not have been such an obvious warning as it seems.
Whatever really caused this accident speculating about it does provide useful reminders for us all and the outcome seems to have been almost as fortunate as in the G-ARCC TriPacer accident at Popham in 2006 .
I did a fly/fly holiday in Colorado once and went mountain flying with a guy called Bruce Hulley from Denver Front Range. Before I was allowed to solo I spent a lot of time (at his insistence) going through the POH for the aircraft I hired, Even having passed all the perf exams required in the UK ATPL syllabus I had never really looked at the degraded performance hot/high brings, I had just never encountered such severe limitations before, A 182 at Leadville was down to around two thirds tanks, two up in August, the book said slightly more, but the Hulley factor said less, I'm glad it did, I found myself using a lot of half forgotten gliding skills to get high enough for the Independence Pass that afternoon.
For my own aeroplane, which has a very basic POH and not a great deal of performance I work on two thirds of take off speed by the time I'm halfway own the runway. or stop and think again.
I suspect the final NTSB report may not shed much more light on this accident but perhaps Leslie Gropp the pilot may be prepared to share his reflections on the incident once any legal stuff has been settled
A friend of his, defending him on another forum said. 'It was a bit late in the Day, it had gotten hot too quickly, he nearly aborted when a gust of air lifted them, he felt once up that he was committed.'
If I was him I'd ask my friend not to be so helpful. In all seriousness, in the same situation. I would have to put my hands up and say. 'I screwed up'.
In any case there's a lesson to be learned for all us. First you can be caught out no matter how experienced you are. But also more importantly don't allow anyone to post footage of your crash on the internet.
I knew one pilot who crashed a helicopter hospitalising his passengers landed two twins gear up crashed a single twice requiring two props and shock loading engine strips! Even then it was never his fault! Those are the most dangerous idiots around! The ones who put their hands up and appreciate their fault are open to learning from the experience. Sadly a lot fit category one
There are some amazing crash videos put up online.
A recent famous one is a TB20 gear up landing, where the warning horn is going off the whole time (well it does stop on ground contact ) and one person who speaks the language translated some of the poorly audible dialogue as the pilots believing it was an overspeed warning horn.
On the topic of shoulder harnesses: Most early aircraft, including my own, do not have them. Guess what - you're not legal to put them in either without an STC or a 337 field approval, which is no easy task to get unless you're willing to spend serious money. You can't change anything in relation to your seats, no matter how bad they might be. For many aircraft, no such 337 precedence exists and not STC is available. It is illegal to add them.
A crystal clear example of how certification procedures and protocol can actually reduce safety.
The problem with adding seat belts is that it is (obviously) a structural mod. The attachment points need to be suitably robust, and most planes don't have "structure" up there.
A 337 is a Major Alteration approval form. If you wanted to do a major structural mod on an N-reg you would likely need a DER to generate some analysis and produce an 8110-3. This is likely to cost you at least 4 figures.
I was once quoted $10k for a DER package for a relatively trivial avionics installation (probably about 2 days' work for the DER) which could have been done (and was done) for nothing by getting an FSDO to approve the 337 for the installation beforehand. But major structural mods to the airframe are a different thing and the FAA is very picky about those.
In Canada the regulator has recognized the safety value of installing shoulder belts in older aircraft and has allowed a mechanic to install with out an STC by using their own judgement on the most effective way to anchor them to a primary aircraft structure. I am surprised the FAA does not have a similar dispensation.
I would argue that even the most unsafe installation of a shoulder harness is better than not having one, so I can not agree with this view. It should be allowed without paperwork and costly certification across the board.
Last edited by AdamFrisch; 15th Aug 2012 at 04:04.
I would imagine that the biggest problem with fitting non tested and properly designed in fitments like a Harness is liability! Any belt rather than no belt is not quite true! An attachment coming away could itself cause serious injury or a pilot being unable to release himself because of a non approved installation and being burnt to death for that reason. Who gets sued? Who is prepared to place themselves into a situation of being sued with such an instillation? Hence I can imagine some authorities would take differing views?
With regard to the pilot's harness, the diagrams in Figure 1 to 3 illustrate the recommended geometry of harness installation, including the turn angles of the shoulder straps over the seat occupant's shoulder. The intent of this is to provide a pre-existing rearward acting restraint force on the upper torso, whenever the straps are normally tensioned prior to flight, thus minimising the relative forward movement of the occupant with respect to the airframe in the event of a sudden deceleration of the aircraft. Such forward movement can otherwise result in increased shock loading to the occupant as the slack in the straps is taken up when they suddenly become taut. The report of the consulting pathologist who performed the autopsy concluded that the cause of death (which would have been virtually instantaneous) was injury to the brain associated with a broken neck, although he determined that other injuries would also probably have rendered this accident non-survivable. A photograph taken of the pilot seated in the aircraft with his harness fastened immediately before the accident flight indicated that there was no change in the angle of the straps over his shoulders. This was later confirmed by tests carried out on the re-assembled wreckage. Thus in the accident no initial restraint of the upper torso would have been provided upon impact of the aircraft, which would have allowed the pilot's upper body to rotate forward about the lap strap. In this circumstance it was considered likely that the pilot's head had struck part of the airframe and had been effectively forced back relative to his shoulders before the straps had tightened against this forward rotation