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Old 12th Jan 2021, 13:57
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 365
Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
The airplane was obviously fully stalled, so it was a failure of the pilot to maintain flying speed. Of course, engine power really helps a pilot to maintain flying speed, but it's still possible, and rarely necessary, to maintain flying speed without any engine power, even in a twin. So it should be practiced. A pilot must do whatever is necessary to assure that sufficient flying speed is maintained to (a) maintain controlled flight, and (b) reserve enough speed to flare, and arrest a descent just prior to contacting the surface. If, in the last 100 feet before contacting the surface, the plane is stalled, arrival will be painful. And, when you're stalled, you have very little control as to where you actually go, so controlling to your selected contact point is very difficult. I don't know the phase of flight from which this crash occurred, though I'm thinking that because the gear was up, it wasn't a final approach, but it is a reminder, particularly for single pilots, to maintain at least Vy, and Vy and Vmca for twin pilots.

A 421 is a rather high wingloading plane, so though it will glide okay, the pilot has to maintain flying speed, it has little tolerance for getting slow. I believe, that like the 310/340 I used to fly, in the 421, the pilot more or less sits on the main wing spar. With the gear up, there is little to absorb a belly landing, so make it gentle. In other types (C 210, for example), there is some pretty well empty fuselage under the seats, so there will be a little absorption of a belly landing, but not if you're sitting on the spar, and the spar is the first thing to hit the ground. Yes, hitting one wing down absorbed a little energy, but not enough.

I find that the more advanced the plane, and more self assured the pilot, the less pilots practice on type with the most basic power off flying skills. In each of my two planes, I'll practice a power off landing from downwind at least once a month or so. I get that it would seem very odd to practice a power off landing in a 421, but had the pilot maintained that skill, this outcome would have been better. Yes, the pilot survived, but a hit that hard will have him/her recovering for a long time....
Lot of Monday Morning Quarter-backing going on here. . . . if only they had your skills. . . .
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