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.

Halfpenny Green Rnwy 10

Old 4th May 2017, 13:02
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Halfpenny Green Rnwy 10

A Vampire (WZ507) ripped-up the runway at EGBO during the 2017 Halfpenny Green Airshow.


News report here


At around 57 sec on the vid, whilst taxiing, there is some runway damage. No-one stopped the take-off roll and from 1'57" on the video - right up to take-off - the damage is significant.


The YouTube version is a longer view, but further away when runway damage occurred
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Old 4th May 2017, 18:50
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That's a significant event! It's a little surprising that the pilot kept going, I'd be wondering about damage to the H stab. I suppose he was confident in not hearing any "hits" to the airframe.

I would expect that his insurance would pay for the liability of the runway damage, similarly to paying to replace a knocked off runway light, or prop or rotor damage to hangar doors, or a parked aircraft. Though the insurance company might wince at the cost of repaving a runway!

But, in my opinion, bottom line, the pilot did the damage, and should be on the hook to make it right.
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Old 4th May 2017, 20:36
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I disagree regarding insurance paying. Runway was not fit for purpose. Airfield management should have known condition, and refused to accept this jet aircraft.
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Old 5th May 2017, 06:09
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Airfield management should have known condition, and refused to accept this jet aircraft.
I, of course, have no idea what prior arrangements or inquiries were made for the operations at that airport with the jet. However, for my experience with this (and I have some from my airline operations days), it is the pilot/aircraft operator responsibility to determine the suitability of an airport and its facilities for the operation of their aircraft, not that of the airport operator.

The pilot/aircraft operator know (or should know) what their aircraft requires, and the possible effects of their operations at the airport. Things like blast distance and intensity, tire pressures and ground bearing requirements, and clearances. That information may be unique for the type, particularly odd ones, and the airport management can hardly be expected to know and police this.

I have witnessed a large helicopter arrive to a flying event at a "small" airport. The facility was not suitable, and four GA aircraft were damaged by rotor wash. That damage was the helicopter pilot's responsibility, not that of the airport operator.

I can't see how this jet pilot could evade responsibility by saying "well the airport management let me land here....".
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Old 5th May 2017, 08:00
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Step Turn, the pilot wouldn't know whats happening behind the aircraft unless perhaps something solid hit the airframe.
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Old 5th May 2017, 09:19
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the pilot wouldn't know whats happening behind the aircraft unless perhaps something solid hit the airframe.
Entirely agreed. Not knowing what's happening behind you does not mean you're not responsible though...

Decades ago I was taxiing a Cessna, with a proper taxi clearance at Toronto International Airport. I taxied behind a parking stand which was a "no engine run" stand, as it backed onto the taxiway. Unbeknownst to the ground controller or me, the maintenance guys were doing an engine run on the parked 767 on that stand. The jetblast nearly flipped my Cessna, lifting one mainwheel well off the ground and weathercocking me across that taxiway. Obviously, the ground controller would have never given me the clearance to taxi there, had he been aware of the hazard. As there was no damage, I made only a report, but no claim. However, had my plane been damaged, I would have made a claim.

I'm sure that the Halfpenny Green jet pilot had no intent, nor awareness that his operation could cause damage, but like any accident, it happened anyway, and damage was done. That's what insurance is for....
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Old 5th May 2017, 21:29
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Step Turn - I have to disagree with your view about pilot/aircraft responsibility to determine suitability of an airport and it's facilities. Yes it does play a part but in the case of this airfield it is licensed by CAA and therefore the airport management legally have a responsibility to ensure the runway and other surfaces are safe for use. CAP168 Chapter 3 Appendix 3A is quite clear on this.
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Old 5th May 2017, 23:00
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I searched Halfpenny Green Airport, and found the runway information. Although they provide a category for runway PCN, it is not stated - an oversight? Though as there is mention of that airport being former RAF, you'd think it could handle a more heavy aircraft.

In my brief research about the Venom, it is a lighter gross weight than that for which formal consideration is required in terms of weight/pressure effects on the runway surface, but it's close. I did note with interest, a description of the tires being more narrow, because of thin wings, and thus being of higher pressure. Higher than what, I'm not sure, but a higher weight, and higher tire pressures should be a consideration point for a pilot in runway choices.

I read that the lowest classification of flexible paved runway bearing (Z class) specifies a maximum of 72 PSI tire pressure for the aircraft. When I used to fly the C 310, I did ask if I could take it into my flying club runway. They were content to say yes. When I used to fly the Piper Cheyenne, there were runways we would not take it into. I note that the Cheyenne has a tire pressure greater than the maximum of 72 PSI for a Z class runway.

The concentrated jet blast effect on the pavement is a different situation. I agree that a poor runway condition, possibly contributed to by high loads on the runway surface, would contribute to runway vulnerability.
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