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Two killed on beach when aircraft makes emergency landing.

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Two killed on beach when aircraft makes emergency landing.

Old 3rd Aug 2017, 10:05
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Originally Posted by Jonzarno

Remember also that, once finally committed to landing on that beach, there is no reset button.

In the time-honoured phrase: "let's wait for the accident report".
I've seen reports of engine failure. OTOH there is an intact landing gear and a broken wing strut. So we don't know if there were control problems or engine problems.

I've read reports that the 50yo was laying on a beach towel and had their legs crushed, which indicates this was a beach landing and not a water landing which now looks like a beach landing due to tide changes once the photos were taken.

However, assuming no control problems, there are always options from as low as a few tens of feet off the ground to change your landing point. It's your choice to take an airplane up for private flying, so it's your responsibility not to hurt anyone on the ground if there is anything in your power to avoid it - including if that means a worse outcome for yourself. If you are a few tens of feet of the ground, then you can see your landing point and see an 8 year old girl minding her own business where you plan to put your airplane down. You can move your landing point further out to sea.

At the moment we don't know anything but if it turns out the pilots had other options than landing on people on the beach, they should never fly again.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 10:21
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Could be the pilot had to choose between two people or ten...
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 10:25
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While I was learning to fly I called in one morning to check a/c and instructor availability. The CFI told me "no you won't be flying today, ***AK had an engine fail yesterday". This was the same ***AK that was drinking a quart of oil every flight, which I'd reported and was told "it just does that".

I found out later that the owner was running the engine beyond its lifetime because he didn't want to pay for a replacement.

Later when I rented a C172 in Australia a few times, I was told not to report minor maintenance issues because they would "have to be fixed immediately". This would ground the a/c and lose them revenue. After a transponder fail in Class D airspace, a flat tyre, PTT button intermittent, landing lights o/s and seized flap bearings, I decided not to rent that aircraft any more. The CFI looked at me like I was being a pain in the arse.

We don't know yet what caused the engine out, but from what I've seen in GA I wouldn't be surprised if it was a maintenance root cause. If so, those deaths were caused by penny pinching, and are the owner's responsibility as well as the pilot.

If you can't afford to maintain your aircraft, you shouldn't be in aviation.

Last edited by PerPurumTonantes; 3rd Aug 2017 at 10:50.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 11:02
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Looking at this image from the grauniad it seems that the port wing is intact, but the strut has colapsed. There are no signs of impact damage to the wing itslef in this and other images. The strut failure could be as a result of a vertical impact exceeding the stiffness of the strut, but it could equaly be because someone has jumped on or taken a sledge hammer to the strut.

I don't have the data to do any calcs, but my expectation would be that if the strut failed in compression due to a high vertical velocity the wing itself would show at least some signs of bending downwards otboard of the strut attachment as well. I'd also be very surprised to see the aeroplane apparently having rolled along the sand after such a touchdown - I would have expected the wheels to become forced into the sand and an ensuing nose-over. So I feel the more likely explanation is that someone has taken revenge on the aeroplane.

But I laos not the tip of one prop blade is bent - the port blade in the picture is bent backwards about 8" form the tip. Not sure what caused that, given its position.

PDR
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 11:38
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Itís horrific knowing that two people who werenít involved in the flight sadly lost their lives while just relaxing on a beach, I would hate to have this on my conscience if I was PIC during this flight.

To some, normally non-aviators, it seems obvious that the flight crew screwed this up. But being an aviator especially one who prefers not to immediately speculate I know there is potentially more to this.

Putting a plane down on a crowded beach is a bad idea (proven here), also so is ditching where you and your student or passenger may drown if they cannot get out, because as we know planes like this like to flip upside down in the water.

I will add that my opinion would be to ditch that plane in the water if the beach was too crowded given the situation and what I know now about the incident, probably just what everyone else does.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 12:19
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More recent update here (sorry for Daily Mail link):
Father of girl killed in Portugal plane crash slams pilot | Daily Mail Online

Seems to suggest engine failure, not structural failure. Given then it has landed along the length of the beach (as opposed trying to make it out to sea having been flying over land), I can't see a situation where engine failure alone would prevent ditching in the sea, rather than on a beach with people on it. From the article, it also appears there were more people than the two killed on the beach who saw it coming and got out of the way.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 14:21
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Mayday call here.

"Engine failure. I am going to land on the beach."
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 14:40
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Originally Posted by patowalker
Mayday call here.

"Engine failure. I am going to land on the beach."
That being the case then the pilot is a complete cnut.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 16:30
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This is a tragic accident. I repeat, an accident. I am appalled at the attitude from apparent fellow aviators on this forum who have a lynch mob mentality and a rush to judgement.

Given the information so far, the crew was an instructor and a student and I would imagine the instructor carried out the landing. It is possible the instructor sitting on the starboard side would not have seen the unfortunate victims who appear to have been struck by the port strut and port main gear leg. The port strut, I would suggest was bent by the collision with the man and the u/c leg struck the little girl. An investigator can be seen marking the leg with a tag.

A witness reported the a/c climbed after hitting the man, and it looks like the resultant stall caused the a/c to land nose down, bending a propeller blade and the nose leg.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 16:43
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Originally Posted by piperboy84
That being the case then the pilot is a complete cnut.
You have to listen/read the whole message. When the controller asks which beach, the pilot replies "Cova do Vapor". This is far less crowded than Sao Joao beach, where the accident happened.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 17:48
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I don't understand why both the instructor and student have appeared in court? Surely the student has no liability here as the instructor was PIC?
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 18:39
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We don't know yet what caused the engine out, but from what I've seen in GA I wouldn't be surprised if it was a maintenance root cause. If so, those deaths were caused by penny pinching, and are the owner's responsibility as well as the pilot.
I appreciate you are new here, but that is utter junk. Rubbish. Engines can, and will, fail for all manner of reasons, and at any stage of the life cycle. I think you are a troll....
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 18:52
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Originally Posted by patowalker
You have to listen/read the whole message. When the controller asks which beach, the pilot replies "Cova do Vapor". This is far less crowded than Sao Joao beach, where the accident happened.
It's also quite a distance away. It would have been apparent well before that they were not going to make that beach.

Now that the reports are pointing to an engine failure and not a loss of control, my sympathy levels for the PIC have dropped to zero. I do not buy the instructor not being able to see the people he struck because he was on the right. The airplane would have had a solid nose down attitude and the crowded beach with people was there to be seen.

What's the glide ratio with engine out and flaps on a C152? About 8:1? That means when you are 60 feet above ground, you can choose to hit the surface 480 feet out to sea and not on top of an 8 year old girl. There is no excuse for landing on a populated beach if you still have control of the airplane and an instructor should know better. If it was an engine out, that may have been an accident but the accident part stopped when the decision was made to land somewhere with people instead of the sea with no people.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 19:31
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AirJing; What is your background?

Your calculation for glide-ratio shows that you are completely clueless.
Glide ratio will depend on many things, such as wind milling prop, configuration, actual atmospheric condition, air density, actual winds on the day. You generally try to land into wind, this means shortening your glide distance, you try to land as slow as possible, by extending flaps, again shortening your glide distance, I assume it was hot weather, again this will give you less lift, and shorten your glide distance. So your theory is crap, put garbage information in the computer, and you get garbage information out of it.

Why do you presume the following: "The airplane would have had a solid nose down attitude"

Again the nose attitude, aircraft attitude, would depend on all of the above. Did they have full flaps? Or was the aircraft clean? If clean they would have had a very high nose pitch, so not much would have been visible of the ground below them.


Best glide ratio in clean configuration with a windmilling prop, and still wind might give you that suggested ratio, however we do not live in a perfect world.

Again you have very little time to make decisions, and lets not fool ourselves who wants to take the option to die by choice, if there is hope of a safe landing?

Furthermore, the instructor also had the responsibility of the "student" flying with him, what would the parents of this "trainee pilot" have said, if the instructor took a gamble to ditch, which might have killed the student pilot.

In the end this was a tragic accident, there options was limited in the time-frame given for them to make a choice.

I feel for the people who lost their lives, and their families, it is awful for all of them.
But the one thing we all no, in case of emergencies, there are no longer any rules, if it can save lives. In this case it saved the Instructor and his student, and I am sure they will not sleep lightly after this either.

To many flight sim experts making stupid comments about things they don't know anything about.

Last edited by BusAirDriver; 3rd Aug 2017 at 19:42.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 20:39
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Originally Posted by BusAirDriver
AirJing; What is your background?

Your calculation for glide-ratio shows that you are completely clueless.
Glide ratio will depend on many things, such as wind milling prop, configuration, actual atmospheric condition, air density, actual winds on the day. You generally try to land into wind, this means shortening your glide distance, you try to land as slow as possible, by extending flaps, again shortening your glide distance, I assume it was hot weather, again this will give you less lift, and shorten your glide distance. So your theory is crap, put garbage information in the computer, and you get garbage information out of it.

Why do you presume the following: "The airplane would have had a solid nose down attitude"
Well BusDriver, I've made my assessment based on an assessment of the information provided, which indicates an engine failure.

OTOH you have decided I'm clueless based on something you have just made up.

I have a PPL and have flown a C152 many times, although not for about 7 years. A C152 not being fresh in my memory, I googled it up and it has a glide ratio of about 10:1 with a windmilling prop, which I then dropped to a guess of 8:1 given I don't know what the weight or configuration of the ac was. Feel free to look that glide ratio up for yourself given you have decided I am clueless and you are the clear expert here; not that it matters because even if it was 5:1 you would still have 300 horizontal feet to work with. Given an instructor would have been PIC, I'd expect they should be able to work with that.

I also looked at cockpit photos I have from flying C152s on landings with and without flaps (the no flaps landing being on training flights). I could see plenty on the ground in both cases and certainly had I been over a beach instead of a runway, I would have been able to tell the difference between a beach full of sunbathers and a deserted beach out of some Robinson Carsoe fantasy. Then I looked at photos I had with engine-idle practice forced landings, where I saw that solid nose down attitude which you seem to think I found from FlightSim 1965.

Even the 60 feet I quoted implies very late decision making. Anybody who can pass a flying medical can make out people a lot more than 60 vertical feet and a few hundred horizontal feet away. There appeared in the after-event photos to be nothing in the way of weather which would prevent a pilot from seeing a long way.

If you have some specific knowledge you would like to share about how far you can see in a C152, you may wish to consider sharing it. Making things up hasn't worked out so well for you so far.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 20:45
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Originally Posted by AirJing
It's also quite a distance away. It would have been apparent well before that they were not going to make that beach.
Do you know where the aircraft was when the pilot made the call? It is 200m from the accident site between the Bicho d'agua and Leblon restaurants on Sao Joao to the Cova do Vapor beach.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 21:50
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"I googled it up" - yes sure your friend google - sure great, first of all it's 8:1, considering clean configuration, windmilling and no wind.

1. Nobody lands with clean configuration, so with full flaps, you have lots of Drag.
2. We don't know if engine was windmilling, it could have been stuck, making it give more DRAG.
3. Wind conditions, you don't even take account of this.

Speed would have been around 60 kts. Let's just for fun use your 480 ft theory, do you really believe somebody will start changing landing spot at 60 ft? You have around 5 seconds before you will touch down?
I am not sure what kind of imaginary fantasy world you live in, but your thought process does not belong to reality. At 60 ft you have around 5 seconds before you touch down, it's already to late at this point.
But reality is much less, you will never glide 480 feet from 60 ft with flaps full and head wind, more likely half of that distance, which gives you even less time to decide to do anything.

I don't need to google this to know this, it's simple maths

Even if he sees the danger at 60 ft, or even 100 ft, the time to make the decision is to short before you hit the ground. Time is more important than distance in this case, because once you are committed than there is no turning back.


Originally Posted by AirJing
Well BusDriver, I've made my assessment based on an assessment of the information provided, which indicates an engine failure.

OTOH you have decided I'm clueless based on something you have just made up.

I have a PPL and have flown a C152 many times, although not for about 7 years. A C152 not being fresh in my memory, I googled it up and it has a glide ratio of about 10:1 with a windmilling prop, which I then dropped to a guess of 8:1 given I don't know what the weight or configuration of the ac was. Feel free to look that glide ratio up for yourself given you have decided I am clueless and you are the clear expert here; not that it matters because even if it was 5:1 you would still have 300 horizontal feet to work with. Given an instructor would have been PIC, I'd expect they should be able to work with that.

I also looked at cockpit photos I have from flying C152s on landings with and without flaps (the no flaps landing being on training flights). I could see plenty on the ground in both cases and certainly had I been over a beach instead of a runway, I would have been able to tell the difference between a beach full of sunbathers and a deserted beach out of some Robinson Carsoe fantasy. Then I looked at photos I had with engine-idle practice forced landings, where I saw that solid nose down attitude which you seem to think I found from FlightSim 1965.

Even the 60 feet I quoted implies very late decision making. Anybody who can pass a flying medical can make out people a lot more than 60 vertical feet and a few hundred horizontal feet away. There appeared in the after-event photos to be nothing in the way of weather which would prevent a pilot from seeing a long way.

If you have some specific knowledge you would like to share about how far you can see in a C152, you may wish to consider sharing it. Making things up hasn't worked out so well for you so far.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 22:04
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BusDriver, you said they would have had a head wind. Since you quite clearly are an expert, I'm sure you know about picking up tell-tales of wind direction if you have to make a forced landing. That being the case, perhaps you could actually look at publically available information before making a fool of yourself again. There is a public domain photo of the airplane on the beach with a windsurfer in the background and a public domain video of plastic police barrier tape around the airplane, blowing in a gentle breeze. It looks to me they landed with a tailwind.

You are mistaken about your decision time with a head or a tail wind ("60 ft with flaps full and head wind, more likely half of that distance, which gives you even less >>time<< to decide to do anything"), you seem to think your time to landing/impact varies with wind direction. Your horizontal distance flown changes. Your vertical descent rate and time to impact stays the same.

And yes, if I did not like what I saw a few seconds before impact like people (although you would have a lot more than a few seconds to work out you were over a crowded beach), I'd be minded to try something different. Esp if I was an instructor and practiced forced landings with every single student pilot who didn't give up on flying at the first circuit.

I even remember during my PPL forced landing training, the instructor asked me what to do if I was landing in a field and saw a fence as I was coming into the landing point; would i land on top of the fence or turn away? But you just stick to your landing plan even if it becomes apparent it is a bad plan and you have time to do something about it.

Your error with decision time and vertical speed vs head/tail wind is so basic that I have to ask what you asked of me: Do you actually fly?

This is a pointless argument. To summarise for the benefit of everyone else my opinion, formed on the basis of reports that it was engine failure and not loss of control are:
- PIC would have been the instructor; the instructor is experienced and will be doing practice forced landings regularly
- It would have been evident the beach was croweded. There are reports of quite a number of people running out of the way. It is reported it is a busy beach. There are people on TV saying a lot more people could have been hurt. It would have been evident there were people on the beach even there was no direct view of the two people killed.
- It was good visibility and there would have been plenty of time to observe that there were people on the beach.
- I had a guess at 60ft height where you would be able to pick the exact point you will touchdown and where you would be looking for obstructions (rocks, people etc) at that point. It could be 50 feet, it would more likely be about 100 feet. I guessed an 8:1 glide ratio based on a theoretical 10:1 with a windmilling prop... it doesn't really matter for the purpose of my agument what the exact glide ratio or height above ground when you realise you are going to hit a person is; you still have several seconds.
- At 60, or 50 or 100 feet above ground there are several seconds to change direction and I'm sure everyone on here who actually flies would change direction if there was something nasty to land on straight ahead.
- It looks to me from the sail direction on the windsurfer and police tape blowing in public domain video/photos, that the airplane landed with a tailwind or at least blowing from somewhere in the back half. It also looks to me the wind was reasonably light.

Last edited by AirJing; 3rd Aug 2017 at 22:39.
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Old 3rd Aug 2017, 23:40
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Pretty crowded beach should have had at least one guy yelling to get out of the way as the plane made an approach.
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Old 4th Aug 2017, 00:20
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Originally Posted by patowalker
You have to listen/read the whole message. When the controller asks which beach, the pilot replies "Cova do Vapor". This is far less crowded than Sao Joao beach, where the accident happened.
I'm somewhat familiar with the general area, last year I flew low level from Portimoa round the coastline and up to Ciascas west of Lisbon and for the most part the beaches were not crowded at all. I guess what I'm thinking is that after being in a few scrapes myself I know the final sequence of an accident especially of this type (engine failure) can happen quickly, but you do have a bit time to make las minute directional changes, even if there was just a few people on the beach would be enough have try for the surf at least. In fact after doing quite a few beach landings I'd rather go for the wet sand than the soft stuff even if no one was on the beach.
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