Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

1 in a Million ?

Old 21st May 2015, 23:07
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Join Date: Jan 2001
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Talking 1 in a Million ?

Rarely something unusual happens !

I was. Flying a Seneca Five from mid UK to Inverness! Not good weather with a front over Scotland and a solid line of cells running west to East

I started off a FL 090 just on top of a solid deck of ice holding clouds and knowing about the line of cells further north knew I would have to eyeball a way through into Inverness.
I would have to stay on top and with rising cloud tops requested a climb.

I was now in cloud and picking up ice. I further requesting the climb!
It was FL130 before I struggled on top having cleared ice with the boots!

I could see a wall of CBs ahead running west to East and probably topping 28000 feet.
All of a sudden there was a large crack sound ! What had happened was a fluke! a one in a million chance!

On each blade was a cable which led to the prop anti ice! The Seneca had three blades on the counter rotating engines.

The Seneca five had a Lopresti cowl which was too close to the three cables and had cut through them meaning no anti ice.

A large chunk of ice came off being hurled straight forward bending round the nose and hit the counter rotating prop on the other side bending the tip.

The blade hurled the chunk of ice into the nose puncturing the nose and then came back into the screen shattering into a snow storm.
There was a slight vibration.

I had to go almost to Aberdeen to find a gap and let down approaching Inverness from the East
Landing they informed me that they had had hail the size of Golf balls
We fixed the one blade to a flyable state and a few hours later I had to find a way out staying low level

I opted to fly along Loch Ness to the west where I knew the Cb ice stopped and it was my intention to stay low out of ice
and follow the islands south past Prestwick.

All started to plan keeping the loch below at maybe 500 feet but the weathers was getting worse and I was now down to 200 feet over the Loch with visibility in heavy rain very bad and aware of high terrain around.

That was it! I climbed into cloud to the MSA and stayed IMC till I burst into blue skies to the west!

It was then a good low level trip past the islands and South

What a fluke that such a chunk of ice would hurl forward against the speed of the aircraft, cross the nose and hit the opposite prop?
The cowl was modified by Piper to stop the cowl cutting through the cables

Last edited by Pace; 21st May 2015 at 23:50.
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Old 22nd May 2015, 01:52
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A friend and I were ferrying a very new Cessna 303 from Canada to England, for delivery to its new owner. With lots of Cessna 310 and 340 experience, I felt extremely comfortable flying the 303, and off we went. This particular aircraft was very well equipped, with full IFR equipment as one would expect, and full known icing equipment.



So there we were, flying in IMC, though often with a view of the ground, but picking up ice. No problem, I just selected on all of the deicing equipment, and had a look around the aircraft to assure that is was functioning. The boots on the wings, and just the very tips of the horizontal stabilizer could be seen, and I was able to confirm that they were operating as expected. Obviously, the boot on the vertical fin could not bee seen, and this was an act of faith.

After a while, and while obviously picking up some ice, a slight twitch in the yaw axis developed. It was about what you’d feel if you were alternatively pushing the pedals a little. I looked over at my friend's knees, and asked, “Are you playing on the pedals down there?” But as I asked, I observed that his knees were still, so this was not his doing. Next I scanned the engine instruments – they indicated that the engines were both purring. The twitching in yaw got a little worse, and was now noticeable in pitch as well. Whatever it was that causing the twitching was making be nervous. When I’m nervous, I like to be closer to maneuvering speed (Va), in case something unexpected happens. So, I pulled the power back, and began to slow down…

As the plane slowed, we were suddenly rodeo riders, the plane was yawing and pitching violently, though roll control was prefect the whole time. Yaw was ten degrees either side uncontrollably, and pitch, though harder to estimate, was enough to give us quite a variation in “G”. Whatever the problem, slowing down made it a lot worse, so I sped up, and it settled down. The only thing it could be was airframe ice, nothing else would seem to have changed since we took off. But this was a known icing certified aircraft! So I flew as fast as I could, knowing that whatever it was, was getting worse, and we were still in the ice. At the higher speed, anything bad which happened, would happen worse, and faster! I had to get out of the ice.

We were able to descend, flying up the valleys in the mountains, not far from Wabush, Labrador. We were lucky enough to find warmer air, and the ice slowly shed on it’s own. An hour or so later, I landed in Shefferville, Quebec for fuel. Of course, slowing down, was an exercise in extreme caution. But the plane handled perfectly. The after landing visual inspection revealed no ice, or other defects at all. Mystery… Our trip continued….

My friend was flying the leg from Iceland to Scotland. I was bored. Searching for some new stimulus, I found the previously unread flight manual for the aircraft, and browsed. Among the commonly found white pages, was an uncommon fluorescent red one. To it’s corner, stapled a tiny zip lock bag, which contained a placard. My interest was peaked now (better late than never). The information on the page instructed that flight into known icing conditions was prohibited, and at the first encounter, an immediate 180 degree turn was to be executed. The placard in the zip bag simply said “Flight in icing conditions prohibited”. Well that was clear! But, with the placard in the bag, and the bag in the book, and the book in the glovebox, the pilot (who had not bothered to read the book prior to flying) had no way of knowing! To read on, it turns out that because the Cessna 303 has a “crucifix” tail, meaning the horizontal stabilizer is mid way up the vertical stabilizer, their respective leading edges form a cross. The middle of this cross was not deiced, and thus a block of ice would form there, and disrupt the smooth airflow over the tail. The result was (in several cases) fatal inflight breakup of the aircraft, due to loss of pitch and yaw control. This... I could imagine! This flight manual page, and placard were required by airworthiness directive 86-01-01.

The final instruction on the page was to install the placard. I did.

I understand that soon an electric pad was developed for installation on the offending leading edges, to correct this design deficiency.

I learned from that to read the flight manual before flying. I don’t know how close we came to breaking that plane up in flight, but it was a lot closer than we should have come!
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Old 22nd May 2015, 21:24
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The "Crusader" has a "crucifix" tail. Poignant.
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Old 22nd May 2015, 21:28
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Pilot Dar

i flew for a construction company over the course of a year in the Cessna 303.We went to two sites which were in obscure places and both involved what was remaining of disused runways with probably 500 metres of fairly good surface and then broken and a mass of stones.

I started flying them to those two sites in a Baron 55 then they bought the 303

One runway where you had to do a low pass to clear animals off the runway and what I would call creative flying to get in there

The 303 had an undercarriage built like a tank and you could drop that undercarriage from cruise speed.

the handling was great but I felt it was let down by the engines which were mildly turbocharged and at 250 HP could have done with being 300 HP per side. We had a problem with engine surging which got worse the higher you went
The aircraft was a new design and quite advanced for a piston twin of that era.

It was a shame that it was never developed further ((

I knew about the problem with the crucifix type tail and the warnings about icing

It became a cult type aircraft with many devoted followers but I never liked the engine or the quirky fuel pumps which could cut the engines

Pace

Last edited by Pace; 22nd May 2015 at 21:41.
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