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Beaver Amphibian Down in Auckland Harbour

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Beaver Amphibian Down in Auckland Harbour

Old 28th Feb 2019, 23:33
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462
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Beaver Amphibian Down in Auckland Harbour

According to press reports one of the two Beavers that give pleasure flights flipped on landing. There are two normally providing the flights, a float version and the amphibian. It appears only the pilot was aboard when the accident happened and he was taken to hospital. The aircraft is now totally inverted and mostly sunk, but is being supported by its floats. Eye witnesses say it flipped on landing. It is apparent the wheels are down.

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Old 1st Mar 2019, 00:25
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Picture from this article:
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12208478

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised anymore when I read an article by a reporter who can manage to find out who operates the aircraft, but can't be bothered to find out what type it is!

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Old 1st Mar 2019, 07:07
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Originally Posted by 462 View Post
It is apparent the wheels are down.
Reminiscent of this accident to a float-equipped C206:

Based on a review of the sequence of events, it is apparent that the landing-gear hydraulic pump circuit-breaker tripped before the last take-off from Chilliwack. Based on the system configuration at the crash site, the circuit breaker most likely tripped after the undercarriage had been extended for landing at Chilliwack.

On departure from Chilliwack, the pilot moved the landing-gear selector to UP. Because the hydraulic pump circuit-breaker had previously tripped, the hydraulic pump did not operate, and the landing gear remained in its extended position. A pre-flight inspection performed in accordance with the aircraft flight manual would li kely have identified the tripped circuit breaker, and it could have been reset before engine start. When the landing gear was selected UP after take-off, both pilots were concentrating on visually monitoring the local traffic, and neither pilot noted that the landing gear had failed to retract. Additionally, the landing-gear indicator lighting system was in the DIM position, thereby reducing the conspicuity of the indicator lights.
http://bst-tsb.gc.ca/ENG/rapports-re...5/a01p0165.pdf

With reportedly only the pilot on board, the Beaver may well have been positioning from its (land) maintenance base at Ardmore to Auckland Harbour for a tour of sightseeing duty.
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Old 1st Mar 2019, 07:30
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Or could just be the old "switch" issue well known in the Cessnas on certain floats where the gear is electrically operated by a small normal on/off switch. if you are distracted by something on take off and forget to retract it, and since it is so small you do not notice it. then maybe the sun on the lights , and here you go.. But I do not know the/this Beaver actual system and if you feel the gear is down during cruise. On the big Cessna's , at least the one I flew, you didn't..
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Old 1st Mar 2019, 10:35
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It is not possible to "feel" the gear position of an amphib. At most there would be a couple of knot cruise speed difference, but hardly detectable. No matter what the actuating system, it is possible by visual inspection of the floats to positively confirm the position of each landing gear. It must become a pilot discipline that for every landing, prior to landing, the landing gear position not only be confirmed, but confirmed as being correct for the surface to landed on: "Wheels are up for landing on water" or "Wheels are down for landing on land". This spoken aloud in the cockpit, combined with a visual inspection of gear position is the only way to prevent this type of accident. I agree that in a Beaver, the left seat pilot inspecting the right float for gear position is difficult, but I have done it. The discipline is particularly important when distractions could be a factor in the approach phase of the flight, a new ATC clearance or traffic distraction are examples. A few amphibians do have gear "advisory" systems. When working, they will tell you the gear position, but you still have to confirm that the position is correct for where you're landing. Depending upon how they are wired, a popped breaker might have disabled the system. In a Beaver amphib, zero audible warning would be normal, so hearing nothing would not be unusual. For this reason, I dislike the advisory systems, preferring absolute discipline about speaking and checking gear position instead.

Considering the severity of outcome of an error, it's worth the effort to visually inspect, while speaking the required gear position. Let alone the cost of the damaged aircraft, emergency underwater egress becomes necessary too, as well as staying afloat until rescue, so there are lots of reasons to get this right!
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Old 1st Mar 2019, 11:01
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If gear is down, a portion of tire sidewall is visible from a cabin window? Any part of the actuating mechanism on top of the floats?
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Old 1st Mar 2019, 11:15
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The floats have viewports on the deck, so a red painted portion of the landing gear actuator will be visible as up or down. The nosewheels, or flags on the nose gear arms are visible in the up position. Absence of nose gear up has to be taken as nose gear down. In some systems, it is possible to have one side up, and the other side down, so both sides must be checked to be sure. This has happened to me twice, so I always check both sides visually.
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Old 1st Mar 2019, 20:56
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Of course all bets are off if, as here, your company operates two Beavers, one a pure floatplane and the other an amphibian (as alluded to by the OP), and you have a brain fade and are convinced you're flying the floatplane today.
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Old 1st Mar 2019, 21:10
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Of course all bets are off if, as here, your company operates two Beavers, one a pure floatplane and the other an amphibian (as alluded to by the OP), and you have a brain fade and are convinced you're flying the floatplane today.
I have decided never to try to fly an amphibian, after reading so many times that a wheels-down landing on water (whether pilot error or malfunction) is the easy way to kill yourself in a floatplane (and I wouldn't trust myself never to make that error).
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Old 1st Mar 2019, 21:20
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Auckland Seaplanes have just issued this notice:

Auckland Seaplanes is very pleased to resume flying operations from Sunday morning following discussions with the CAA.
We will be flying our floatplane de Haviland Beaver, registration AMA. This model is a floatplane and does not have wheels for landing on solid ground.
The de Havilland Beaver amphibious aircraft, registration WKA involved in the incident on Friday morning, which does have landing wheels has been brought to shore.
Auckland Seaplanes wishes to apologise to our passengers for the disruption to services today and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
We also want to thank the people and organisations who have provided support in various ways yesterday - it is very much appreciated.
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Old 1st Mar 2019, 21:23
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I've never flown an amphib either though I'd love to but I simply can't understand how pre-landing checks dont always include the one and only line that must never be omitted, even if you forget all the rest.
To check wheel position vs. landing surface.

Or do people even fly amphibs without bothering with checklists?

It's so effing basic! This is simply Darwinism in action!

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Old 1st Mar 2019, 23:32
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I thought it interesting that the Auckland Seaplanes public statement went to some lengths to explain that the floatplane Beaver does not have wheels and also that the CAA have very quickly allowed operations to continue. Make of that what you will!
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Old 2nd Mar 2019, 00:20
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Amphibs have a higher burden of pilot responsibility, kinda like a twin. And, they have greater operational capability. If you need the capability, you manage the added complexity. Though more complex and expensive, amphibs will allow you to pick up your passengers at the airport, and take them directly to the lake. If the lake is not served from shore at all, this is pretty important. Amphibs will allow you to fuel at an airport, rather than having to get avgas to a lake, and fuel a floating aircraft. You have the choice to tie the amphib down into an airport tiedown spot, or even hangar it, and not worry about it alone at the lake, or sinking there un noticed. And, amphibs can be operated into an airport at night, float flying is day only. I have two amphibs, and manage them with discipline. The afore mentioned prelanding checks are made and spoken before every landing, if you miss the check, you risk the plane - so don't miss the check. If, on short final, you don't recall doing the check, it's an automatic go around. I don't like the advisory systems, they give a false sens of security. They are not absolute, and if they fail, it's a benign failure, which likely goes un noticed. It's best handled with simple pilot discipline. The same discipline is needed for wheel ski operations, for which I have never heard of an advisory system, or other means of warning. If you land a taildragger wheel ski plane skis down on a dry runway, you're going to wreck the plane..

A floatplane operator does not want an amphib unless their operation warrants it, they're more expensive, higher risk, and have a lesser useful load. So if they have one, it's because they have the operational need.
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Old 2nd Mar 2019, 04:28
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Latest news from Auckland Seaplanes is that the pilot is still shaken up, but otherwise OK. Unfortunately I’m not permitted to post any other pics or links until I have made ten posts as there are some other interesting photographs taken immediately after the incident available.
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Old 5th Mar 2019, 03:58
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"I don't like the advisory systems, they give a false sens of security."

Your privilege, of course.

We had a community of about two hundred owners/operators of our amphibians and we used to lose two or three every year to wheels down on water. They were not confined to the less experienced pilots! Luckily very few were fatal. Several of us spent a good deal of time working on warning systems.

These days the community is probably up in the six or seven hundreds, many of them Light Sport and we are averaging about one a year. Draw your own conclusions.

After saying I would be disciplined I got distracted (by my prostate!) and landed wheels up on our local runway. I wouldn't land on water after that till I had a system. It cost about $30.00 and while no system is foolproof it worked for me by requiring a positive action choice to set the wheel selector up or down (from neutral) to cancel the buzzer.

"There are those that have. . . . and those that are going to."
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Old 5th Mar 2019, 14:46
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it worked for me by requiring a positive action choice to set the wheel selector up or down (from neutral) to cancel the buzzer.
That certainly sounds better than other systems I have encountered. I can't denounce any safety systems which works. I just get nervous when a pilot shifts their commitment away from absolute (life threatening) diligence, to dependence upon a warning system. If the buzzer quits working (or an awesome noise canceling headset mutes it), will the pilot remember that they should have heard the buzzer, and did not?

Years back, I had to check myself out in a Piper Navajo, there was no one else around to fly it, so I was pointed toward it. Nice plane, no problem. But, I became aware that I was flying powered approaches, the plane seemed happy to be flown that way, but I was cheating myself out of a warning, and had not even noticed. The gear warning will only sound with the throttle leaver on the idle stops, by the time I'd pulled the power to idle, I was touching down, much too late to select gear then! Realizing my foolishness, thereafter, in addition to my manual discipline speaking the gear position and surface (which I'd been doing anyway), I also closed the throttles momentarily late final, just in case a functioning safety system was trying to warn me.

The Cessna Cardinal RG I used to rent suffered an engine failure in the circuit for another pilot (something about not enough fuel). It quit, he ran the drills - but a little too quickly. Sure, he extended the gear and flaps, but before either got to the desired position, he continued the drill, and turned off the master switch. Everything electrical stopped moving, and the warning horn was inoperative. The only thing which damages an RG more than landing it gear up, is landing it gear part way down. The tale was that he blabbered "I did not hear the gear horn". I believe him. We know that to do, the real demand is that we stop whatever is distracting us long enough to focus on killer checklist items.

Ultimately, the only system which works for me is the discipline of pausing no matter what on final, and observing the gear position, landing surface, and speaking them out loud. If I'm training someone in an amphib with a warning system, I still require them to do this, and if they wish, they may add: "and warning silent". Particularly with high time RG pilots, I have to untrain the mindless "Gear down". I had an airline pilot checklist this to me mindlessly during amphib training, so I asked him where he was going to land. After a puzzled moment, he figured out what I was getting at.

Whatever works, but no excuses for overlooking the most basic methods....
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Old 5th Mar 2019, 19:56
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
I've never flown an amphib either though I'd love to but I simply can't understand how pre-landing checks dont always include the one and only line that must never be omitted, even if you forget all the rest.
To check wheel position vs. landing surface.

Or do people even fly amphibs without bothering with checklists?

It's so effing basic! This is simply Darwinism in action!
Well, you say that... but aviation is littered with many an event in which competent flight crew somehow missed a checklist item.. some more important than others. The other contributors to this thread have described numerous plausible potential explanations which suggest that there's plenty to trip up a pilot following their checklist.

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Old 5th Mar 2019, 21:16
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
I've never flown an amphib either though I'd love to but I simply can't understand how pre-landing checks dont always include the one and only line that must never be omitted, even if you forget all the rest.
To check wheel position vs. landing surface.

Or do people even fly amphibs without bothering with checklists?

It's so effing basic! This is simply Darwinism in action!
With amphibs it is better to isolate the circumstances which cause it to happen - there are a few things which are taught from lesson one on land aeroplanes, as good airmanship, that will ruin your day on an amphib - the main one, which causes almost all the gear down water landings is, during a take-off from a land airport, refraining from retracting the gear whilst you still have runway in front (in case you have an engine failure) - you then forget to retract it - landing back on a land runway with the gear up on an amphib does very little damage. So BEWARE short land to water sectors.

So the SOP should ALWAYS be "positive rate, gear up" with no delay. The trick is to do the same when taking off on water with the gear already up i.e. the SOP should be "positive rate, gear up" (i.e. just a touch drill). If you do that SOP then there is ALMOST no way to land with your gear down in the water.

There is a bit of a bad habit some seaplane pilots may have on amphibs which is to fly the approach way too fast and then bleed off the speed all the way to touchdown on the water - this has the effect of negating the safety net provided by the warning system which usually works on speed - basically, you can be touching down just as the warning goes off - maybe even before.

If you don't have the aforementioned habit then you just need to be aware of the situation where you're landing at a busy land airport and you are asked to keep the speed up on the approach to fit in with the jets - you're working a bit harder and get distracted/out of sequence and the gear is forgotten AND your high speed means no gear warnings. Also beware when adding speed additives for crosswinds and no or reduced flap situations.

Then you can layer on your checklist use and good personal habits.

Last edited by Good Business Sense; 6th Mar 2019 at 07:53.
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Old 6th Mar 2019, 06:20
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When we were going through the debate about gear warning systems and how they should work for our amphib. there were lots of "What if . . . . . then it would not work" arguments. In the end my view on that was "If you wait for the perfect we will never have anything." In practice I did not come across a situation when it was not effective but of course that was no reason for lack of vigilance.

Practice is now to raise the gear after every land take off and, indeed, one of our members had a EFATO last week and landed straight ahead wheels up with just scrapes.
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