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Firefly accident in North Yorkshire.

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Firefly accident in North Yorkshire.

Old 4th May 2016, 17:36
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Am I missing something - ie I've not read anywhere that said what the aircraft was doing so where do we get it spun from??.

Last edited by Camargue; 4th May 2016 at 18:08.
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Old 4th May 2016, 17:53
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Exactly Camargue. There's some evidence in that direction, and a known historical issue with the type. But basically - we don't know, and people are jumping to conclusions here, and in numerous other places online. It was a tragic crash, it's being investigated. More information will follow from those whose job it is to develop that information.

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Old 4th May 2016, 18:48
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It's being reported that the two pilots were planning on doing aerobatics. The crash site photos are textbook spin at impact. Notice how the engine is buried in the dirt in front of the aircraft.



The Firefly is a very safe aircraft
I flew the T-3A at the Air Force Academy and was the flight safety officer during the first fatal accident. I also was a member of that first safety investigation.

The T-67/T-3A fleet has over a 10% hull loss--280 built, 28 fatal accidents, 35 killed and I know of at least two hull losses without injury.

Speaking of which, I would like to get details of a Hondo Texas T-3A (3rd Flying Training Squadron) landing accident that resulted in no injury but the aircraft was destroyed. It happened around 95 or 96. I believe the student was attempting a no-flap full stop but jerked the aircraft back into the air after touchdown. The civilian instructor took the controls but couldn't avoid the crash. It is not listed on the Aviation Safety Network list of T67/T-3 accidents. There's some interesting reading in those reports. Any help would be appreciated.

Keep in mind that pretty much every one of the dead Firefly pilots thought it was a safe airplane until just before impact so don't tell me, "I fly the T67 and it's a safe airplane." It's not. It's statistics are shockingly bad. It's got to be right up there with the F-104 Starfighter.

From a UK Fatal Stall or Spin Accident summary (1980-2008) report:
The accident rate for the Slingsby T67 was throughout the period much greater than any other certified type and has been treated as a special case.
The Slingsby T67, (8 fatal accidents) was excluded from the main numerical analysis but was studied as a special case. (See Appendix 2 of the full Report).
Here's my T-3 story: https://robrobinette.com/T-3A_Firefly.htm

Rob Robinette

Last edited by robrob; 5th May 2016 at 12:36.
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Old 4th May 2016, 19:25
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RIP to the two chaps involved.

Bonso was a lovely aircraft always looked after with no expense spared (certainly in GA terms). It was always a great experience and flown from a brilliant little club. I did my PPL on that particular Firefly after switching my UAS/EFT hours into a civilian license and was very sad to hear the news.

I can't imagine what it was like there on the day - sounds like it was handled as well as could be.
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Old 4th May 2016, 19:36
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Am I missing something - ie I've not read anywhere that said what the aircraft was doing so where do we get it spun from??.
It would appear from the fairly intact airframe, the fact that it would appear to have been a low forward motion, flat contact with the ground, with enough force to fatally injure the pilots, that it may have been a flat spin. It could of course have been something entirely different, but the more probable cause COULD be a flat spin. Or a loss of control at low altitude, resulting in a stall/spin. The AAIB will confirm when all the facts are known, and the investigation is complete. Until then, discussion focuses on a probable spin in. I think that is where people are getting the spin bit from.
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Old 4th May 2016, 20:51
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From the photos plus my knowledge of the aircraft along with just about every T67 accident and its build, this picture is consistent with the de-lanimation of the wings assumed to be from the weight of the fuel in the tank at force loading on impact - based on little or no forward speed. Soon as the composite structure starts to fail or is weakened on a join then it will go fairly quickly as can be seen from the port wing which has failed at the tank slightly left of the B in the reg, the weight of the flaps and fuel in tank based on a high vertical impact is as you would expect to see.

For the sake of good order and out of respect to families and others affected i shall now silence on the subject. Apologies if my words have caused offence or upset.
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 19:25
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Hi guys, new to this website and thread. I found it by googling details of the crash.

The passenger was my cousin and we were really close my whole life.

They had the inquest today and I just wanted to know if there was anywhere I could review any sort of official report or more details of the crash? Its so frustrating not having more of an idea of his last moments or what exactly they were doing up there.

I found a few articles published today but nothing that helped me much.

Thanks in advance and I hope its alright to post this here?
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Old 5th Dec 2016, 23:45
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Welcome Jack,

It's perfectly alright to post here. Sorry about your cousin, I hope that the inquest, and other information will bring closure for you. Though I myself have no details about this accident, in time, the AAIB report will be made public, and it will be your best source of information. This could take more than a year. In the mean time, other posters here may point you in the direction of more detail on this sad event.
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Old 6th Dec 2016, 06:33
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It should be said that the reason the AAIB take so long is they do a VERY thorough job, so the report, when you get it, should be as close as you can get to answering your questions. But there may be things they can't know without having been in that cockpit, bearing in mind light aircraft don't contain voice or flight data recorders.

Reports appear on the AAIB website, or, no doubt, someone will post a link here when it's published.
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Old 7th Dec 2016, 06:34
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The Coroner suggested that spin training in specific aircraft types is advisable due to different spin recovery techniques. Tucano-T67 for example.


Mr Oakley said: "Obviously they were endeavouring to get the aircraft under control but it didnít have enough air to do so. There was no mechanical explanation for this it can only have been what must be termed pilot error."
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Old 30th Apr 2017, 22:52
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It has now been a year since this tragedy. These two young men who had very promising careers ahead of them were taken far too soon, they will not be forgotten; I raise a glass in memory of Cameron and Ajvir.

Rest In Peace gentlemen.
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Old 11th May 2017, 04:20
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AAIB

The report is our in the May 2017 bulletin.

It confirms the aircraft entered a spin from the exit from a loop and that it did not recover. The aircraft commander had all the right licences but had no chutes and had not had differences training on spin recovery for Firefly (different to Tutor and Tucano).

All pilots should learn a lesson or reinforce old knowledge from the loss of these 2 promising future combat aircrew. Get adequate training when changing type and always wear a parachute for aerobatics if available.
 
Old 11th May 2017, 11:32
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A very thorough report with very sobering conclusions.

The T67M's basic spin recovery technique looks like what I would call a "normal spin recovery technique", it's certainly similar to all spin recovery techniques on all aircraft I've flown.

However, what I found surprising was that the Tutor and Tucano had different but similar spin recovery techniques. Why is there a requirement to hold the stick central? Would moving the stick forward not work and if so why?

Last edited by India Four Two; 11th May 2017 at 14:49.
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Old 11th May 2017, 12:43
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Indeed it is a sobering read, and sad too that recovery may have been in progress but they just ran out of height. Regarding the question above from India Four Two, maybe ask in the military pages; I am sure there are ETPS guys who may be able to shed some light on reasons for Tutor and Tucano spin recovery being what it is.

My thoughts are with the families and friends.
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Old 12th May 2017, 02:28
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The T67M's basic spin recovery technique looks like what I would call a "normal spin recovery technique", it's certainly similar to all spin recovery techniques on all aircraft I've flown.
Similar, but not the same. There is no 'standard spin recovery' for all aircraft as some people of this forum claim. They vary from type to type, some slightly - some massively. During WW2, the RAF used a standard recovery, but the introduction of the Chipmunk changed that after several fatal accidents and a type specific recovery was introduced - along with a design modification. And since then, every RAF type has had a specific spin recovery. I've flown 7 training types in the RAF as both student and instructor - all the spin recoveries had differences.

This tragic accident highlights that all recoveries are different, that you should know the recovery for your type and you should get spin training on type conversion if you intend to fly aerobatics.
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Old 12th May 2017, 09:14
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Total experience, hours on type what a sad waste.
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Old 12th May 2017, 17:12
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The Tucano spin recovery was very predictable if completed iaw the taught technique (ht, Idle, opposite rudder, centralise CC, centralise rudder immediately spin stops). Two hands were invariably used during the spin to prevent the ailerons from 'snatching' and hence applying an unwanted roll input. Any in-spin roll input would cause the spin to become more oscillatory.

During recovery, if the CC was moved further forward than the approximate central position then a pronounced bunt would ensue as the rotation stops. As well as the negative g being uncomfortable, the rapid increase in IAS caught some people out.
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Old 13th May 2017, 11:05
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The reason for the Tucano having 'stick central' in the spin recovery is due to the fact that it has an inverted spin mode as well as the erect spin mode, and 'stick central' works for both. Therefore, the spin recovery is identical for an erect and an inverted spin and a pilot does not have to identify whether the spin is erect or inverted in order to effect a recovery.

The initial spin recovery procedure recommended by Shorts for the Tucano was 'Throttle closed, all controls central'. However, their spin testing was limited and it was discovered during the Release to Service trials that following a left erect spin that had been initiated with 30% torque or more when the power had been maintained for more than 2 turns, the spin would not stop with a centralised recovery. Therefore, the current recovery technique was devised that would work for all spins. The worst case that we flew was left, erect, full power for 4 turns, full right rudder, stick central, 4 more turns then select idle. It recovered satisfactorily which definitely proved recovery from the worst case scenario. Now that one was fun!!!!
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Old 13th May 2017, 14:23
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The reason for the Tucano having 'stick central' in the spin recovery is due to the fact that it has an inverted spin mode as well as the erect spin mode, and 'stick central' works for both. Therefore, the spin recovery is identical for an erect and an inverted spin and a pilot does not have to identify whether the spin is erect or inverted in order to effect a recovery.
So can other, supposedly relatively benign aircraft. For example, the JP3 and the Cessna 150.

I saw the latter with an instructor (spin training was included in PPL training back then) and during entry to what was supposed to be a normal spin, the aircraft flicked, the prop stopped, and suddenly the ground was "up").

I also managed to get myself into an inverted spin during solo aerobatics on the JP3 BFTS course. I was lucky to come out of that, the last thing on my mind at the time was ejecting and after I recovered to a climb I realised I was well below minimum abandonment height.

The Chief Instructor at CFS at the time I was there (late 80s) wrote an interesting article in Airclues. He was current on either three or four different types of aircraft at the time, all with different recovery techniques (Hawk, JP, Bulldog, possibly Chipmunk). One day he was flying a VSO (the AOC, iirc) on a GH sortie in a Hawk. The VSO asked to see a spin. As the CI entered the spin, for a few very worrying seconds he realised he couldn't remember what recovery technique he should use for the type! The point of the article was to know what you're meant to do and if possible pre-brief your recovery actions.
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Old 13th May 2017, 17:33
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Shy Torque,

I have had a JP5 (no tip tanks) in an inadvertent inverted spin after attempting to enter an erect spin on an up vertical line for a spin from a manoeuvre. The Aircrew Manual said that the inverted spin recovery was to centralise the controls which I did. There was very severe aileron snatching that I could not contain but it did recover after about 5 secs. A bit of research revealed that no inverted spin trial had been flown on the JP5 and the recommended recovery actions were read across from a trial in a JP4 which had tip tanks and, therefore, different roll and yaw inertia characteristics as well as different spanwise airflow at the tips plus a different nose shape.

The Hawk T1 has an inverted spin mode during which the rudder overbalances fully in-spin, and if the rudder is not centralised within the first half turn then the rudder pedal force required to centralise the rudder for recovery is about 250 - 300 lbs and very difficult to apply; fortunately it is not prone to entering this mode.

The Tucano was the first UK military aircraft to be cleared for intentional inverted spinning since, I believe, the Vampire T11 (can anyone confirm this?) and that is why we were so keen to have a single spin recovery procedure for all spin modes.
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