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Spitfire F-AZJS crash in France

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Spitfire F-AZJS crash in France

Old 11th Jun 2017, 20:51
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Spitfire F-AZJS crash in France

The pilot at the controls was Cédric Ruet – I’m informed he is safe.

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=196094

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-uQqXKBYAg
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 06:57
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I think the spectators who were helping to lift the aircraft were very lucky there was no fire.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 07:23
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I think I see the right tire blow out...anyone concur?
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 08:36
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What a waste.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 09:16
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I think I see the right tire blow out...anyone concur?
I think it's the propeller blade striking the ground.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 09:54
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That's a whole lot of horsepower to keep under control during the initial takeoff roll and a wise man would feed it in gently.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 11:35
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Originally Posted by Islandlad View Post
Grass and a Spitfire that size don't seem to mix well
Oh - what size spitfire would mix better?

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Old 12th Jun 2017, 13:11
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Although they came in different weights, IFAIK they were all much of a muchness for size (other than the very small variations of clipped-wing and extended-wing varients).

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Old 12th Jun 2017, 13:31
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The Griffon Spits are about three feet longer than the early Merlin aircraft and weigh over 2000lbs more empty. The ultimate development, the Seafire 47, weighed twice as much as the Mk1.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 13:40
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I'm aware of this, but does that three feet make any significant difference to the sort of grass they mix with?

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Old 12th Jun 2017, 14:24
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IFAIK they were all much of a muchness for size
Three feet longer is 10%... that's not really a muchness...

I believe the longer engine, mounted further forward, angled slightly downwards and with a lower thrust line mean the Griffons have less prop tip clearance (with slightly shorter blades than the MkIX), so a rough or soft grass runway might be less forgiving than it would for a Merlin aircraft.
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Old 12th Jun 2017, 15:05
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Rough surface = flexing oleos + bit extra over-rotation = prop strike.
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 02:54
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The higher powered Spits had a reputation when it came to the torque they produced. The Mk XIV recommends the use of +7 boost for take off because of the strong tendency to swing to the right and to crab in the initial stages of the take off run. Tyre wear is severe if much power is used. The maximum of +12 boost may be used if carrying a heavy load.

It would seem from the video that he allowed the tail to get too high, elevator is neutral and the stick is not pulled back until after the prop hit the ground. Prop digging into the ground then forces the nose left, rather than to the right that torque would produce.

Spit pilots had a name for such prop strikes, "Pecking", and was not unusual.
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 07:30
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Not saying it's relevant to this incident but I knew a guy who flew all manner of RAF machines who told of climbing into a new Spitfire to deliver it somewhere. Started up, taxied out, lined up, opened the throttle and did the usual of kicking in rudder to counter the swing...only to then realise that the Griffon turned the other way!
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 13:38
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An explanation for this sad incident may be found in the excellent talk on Handling Qualities of WW2 Fighters given in March 2004 by Dave Southwood to the Flight Test Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Mr. Southwood began by explaining that older aircraft, such as those with tailwheels or powerful piston engines, require different handling skills to those of today although the ability of current pilots is as high as that of previous generations.

The engine torque and propeller slipstream produce considerable effects and tailwheel aircraft are inherently unstable on the ground. Probably the greatest vice of the Spitfire is that it is very 'tail light' due to a short longitudinal moment arm of the CG from the mainwheels …. sharp brake inputs or large power increases without full aft stick inevitably cause the tail to leave the ground …

A particular problem can occur during engine checks at high power. The thrust line is above the mainwheels and produces a powerful nose down pitching moment that is opposed by the moment of the CG about the mainwheels and the aerodynamic down force on the tailplane and elevator due to propwash and any headwind component. If the tail should rise, closing the throttle will reduce the problematic nose down moment due to the thrust. However, it will also reduce the propwash over the tailplane and elevators, thus reducing the aerodynamic tail down moment and often making the tail rise even further.

Unfortunately, once the tail has started to rise in this situation there is often no recovery.
A friend had a similar experience with the RR Spitfire XIV which he brought to our air display about 35 years ago. At that time I was de facto airfield manager (involved clearing up, driving digger and mower etc, all unpaid of course) and went ballistic when I spotted a line of foot-long slashes down our new runway surface. Who the ****** drove the tracked digger down the runway, I demanded. Turns out that my friend had unknowingly tipped the Spitfire prop when he opened up on takeoff, each slash being from a tip of its five-bladed prop. Its performance was not affected.
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 14:36
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Is it true that this was the very first flight in this Spitfire of this pilot?
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 14:45
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Less Hair, I've seen that mentioned on another site; supposedly he flew the Sea Fury to the event.

Geriaviator, is it really 13 years since that talk by Dave?
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 15:16
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In this day and age why are people still flying high performance 'warbird' aircraft in cloth hats? Surely a carbon fibre shelled 'hard' helmet with a polycarbonate visor would provide much better protection during a roll over like this, or during a simple wheels up.

Last edited by Stitchbitch; 13th Jun 2017 at 15:27.
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Old 13th Jun 2017, 16:51
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Yes Treadigraph, I'm afraid it is all of 13 yrs, March 18 2004 to be precise. And if you think that has gone quickly, you'll find the next 13 will go even faster, and as for my last 13 it seems like 13 months
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 01:20
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Just to flesh out my
Spit pilots had a name for such prop strikes, "Pecking"
From "Spitfire - The History", Morgan & Shacklady.

The Mk. VIII was fitted with the Merlin 60 Series engines which resulted in a longer engine cowling (the first of the "long nose" aircraft) and there was a tendency for pilots on landing to misjudge their attitude to the runway, and allowed the nose to tilt forward and then drop back to complete the landing run. Inevitably, the tilt forward resulted in the propeller striking the ground and damaged the tips. This was known as ‘pecking’ or ‘bogging’. JG246 was sent to Rotol Airscrews for installation and trials of a cropped propeller to determine how short the blades could be without their characteristics being drastically altered. At 8ft 3in length there was a reduction in overall performance and at 7ft 1 lin this reduction became pronounced. A normal prop was of 10ft 9in diameter.

The results of the experiments were relayed to the service Maintenance Units and they did enable engineering personnel to ascertain if an aeroplane with a broken or damaged propeller could be air ferried for repair.
The very first Spit (prototype) was destroyed in a "pecking" incident, having flown 151:30 hours, the pilot suffering injuries that later proved fatal.
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