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White Waltham Pitts crash

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White Waltham Pitts crash

Old 25th Sep 2019, 11:58
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Akrapovic View Post
Iím guessing due to the nature of the operation (training/pleasure flights etc), there would be camera footage?
Don't have too high hopes, sometimes even with in-cockpit footage, there is no answer to the "why"s.
Recently I had the chance to look at stills from an in-cockpit camera prior to a fatal crash, killing 2 experienced FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS. All you can see is that after a touch-and-go, on the turn from crosswind-to-downwind leg, the aircraft banked right normally first, then overbanked and started to point its nose down, and then suddenly the pilot flying pulled the stick and extreme left, causing a textbook accelerated stall.
For several seconds, the aircraft continued to roll right and nose down, with no change in control inputs. Even when nearly inverted, the accelerometer showed 2 Gs, and the turn coordinator exhibited the textbook signs of spinning. The last still frame showed the place where they would hit a few more seconds later.

There was no sound, no boody scenes, but about 60 of us was speechless for a while. What can make 2 experienced people make this basic mistake? We don't know. Perhaps something caught their attention too much, and the airplane was light, easy to stall with sudden control inputs. We will never know, what went on in their heads, what did they think, despite the camera footage.
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Old 25th Sep 2019, 14:22
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by rnzoli View Post
Don't have too high hopes, sometimes even with in-cockpit footage, there is no answer to the "why"s.
Recently I had the chance to look at stills from an in-cockpit camera prior to a fatal crash, killing 2 experienced FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS. All you can see is that after a touch-and-go, on the turn from crosswind-to-downwind leg, the aircraft banked right normally first, then overbanked and started to point its nose down, and then suddenly the pilot flying pulled the stick and extreme left, causing a textbook accelerated stall.
For several seconds, the aircraft continued to roll right and nose down, with no change in control inputs. Even when nearly inverted, the accelerometer showed 2 Gs, and the turn coordinator exhibited the textbook signs of spinning. The last still frame showed the place where they would hit a few more seconds later.

There was no sound, no boody scenes, but about 60 of us was speechless for a while. What can make 2 experienced people make this basic mistake? We don't know. Perhaps something caught their attention too much, and the airplane was light, easy to stall with sudden control inputs. We will never know, what went on in their heads, what did they think, despite the camera footage.
Of course, but you would agree that an answer to the 'how's', is certainly better than no answer at all? A lot can be gleaned from footage and there are numerous examples of aircraft accidents where footage provided to the authorities has assisted a great deal in concluding the cause of the accident.
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Old 25th Sep 2019, 18:29
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Remember - whilst it satisfies our curiosity, it IS NOT the objective of an air accident investigation to explain an accident.

It is the objective to provide recommendations to anybody who can use them, as to how to prevent future accidents.

That can often be done without fully understanding the accident mechanism itself.

G
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Old 25th Sep 2019, 22:27
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps out of topic but to answer Akrapovic in his specific detailed description of loss of control accident caught on camera, I would think in this particular scenario, there is a precise answer as "As to why", and this is wrong imputs to correct an overbank with nose dropping, whatever the cause of that overbank..

This is due to lack of specific training from flight instructors, whom are certainly fully qualified for normal operations have often no clue of how to recover from a degrading unusual attitude situation, such as this one. They applied the wrong inputs relying on deadly intuitive inappropriate instincs trying to raise the falling wing with opposite aileron and pulled on the elevator at the sight of approaching ground.

One should view slow flight below the second regime / stall / spin as another flight regime with its own rules and techniques, one can easily make an analogy with driving on snow and ice which likewise has its own rules and techniques, both anti instinctive as in the former LOC flying scenario.

When loss of control happens while driving on dry pavement with a contemporary vehicle ( Old rear wheel drive vehicles without computerised electronic stability assistance are different ) the reflex is to release the throttle pedal and hit the brakes, which is essentially correct. But in icy slippery conditions the worse thing to do is to reduce throttle pedal and hit the brakes.

Likewise during a stall / incipient spin scenario like the one above, the worse reaction is to apply opposite aileron- in a situation of aileron reversal- to lift a dropping wing and pull on the stick leading to a flick. Whether the situation was recoverable or not due to suficient height I don't know, but control inputs were utterly wrong.

Unless they had some technical or other issues leading to the upset, what was lacking for a safe outcome was early recognition of the degrading situation followed by wrong recovery inputs when it was already too late. However typical 1000 ft agl height in the traffic pattern allows for immediate recovery like in 1/8th of a turn if the correct reflexes and appropriate inputs are applied.

Like taking a course and practicing active skid / brake / throttle control on an snowy track with your vehicle, indulging in uprt-loc advanced aircraft control training saves lives.

As far as the Pitts accident at White Waltham is concerned, instructor was duly qŻalified and used to those maneuvers, I would rule out loss on control..Something else must have happened RIP
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Old 26th Sep 2019, 02:16
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by rnzoli View Post
. ... What can make 2 experienced people make this basic mistake? ... We will never know, what went on in their heads ...
Could "what went on in their heads" be what was described 75 years ago by Langewiesche in "Stick and Rudder"?

[QUOTE] Unfortunately, as the airplane drops out from under the pilot and as its nose dips earthward, the pilotís "instinctive" reaction will be to haul back all the harder on the stick. If his imagination works with faulty images, if he imagines that the stick is the airplanes up-and-down control, he can hardly help hauling back on the stick. This instinctive reaction will be especially impulsive and uncontrollable if the pilot has failed to sense the coming of the stall, and the stall takes him by surprise.

And that is the real danger of stalling: this faulty reaction to the stall, rather than the stall itself. It is quite rare that a pilot is killed simply because he stalled. But it happens with tragic monotony that a pilot is killed because, stalled when he did not expect it, he either fails to recognize the stall for what it is, or fails to control that impulsive desire to haul back on the stick: he clamps the stick back against his stomach in a terrified cramplike effort to hold the airplane up, and thereby makes the stall worse or converts it into a spin. [END QUOTE]

The "tragic monotony" continues to this day.
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Old 26th Sep 2019, 07:32
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PickyPerkins View Post
Could "what went on in their heads" be what was described 75 years ago by Langewiesche in "Stick and Rudder"?
Yeah, that's it!
Some older guys told me: if I get an unpleasant surprise flying, just sit on my hands for a moment, in order to give my brain a little time to comprehend the situation, instead of doing something stupid right away. Of course, this is easier said than done. But this case also highlight, how unrealistic stall training is, when you stall with level wings, at the precisely expeced moment. Accelerated stalls are far more sinister.
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Old 26th Sep 2019, 17:56
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Modern training seems to focus almost exclusively on stall and spin prevention and the thinking behind that has often been discussed.

However, the problem comes that once the stall/spin threshold has been breached, one also has to know how to recover.
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Old 26th Sep 2019, 19:31
  #28 (permalink)  
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once the stall/spin threshold has been breached, one also has to know how to recover
I'm thinking that a pilot experienced in aerobatics in a Pitts is probably well past this point in skills development...
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 11:59
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post
Remember - whilst it satisfies our curiosity, it IS NOT the objective of an air accident investigation to explain an accident.

It is the objective to provide recommendations to anybody who can use them, as to how to prevent future accidents.

That can often be done without fully understanding the accident mechanism itself.

G
From the AAIB website.......
"Our purpose is to improve aviation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of air accidents and serious incidents, and promoting action to prevent reoccurrence."
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