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.

B17 crash at Bradley

Old 16th Oct 2019, 04:42
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Originally Posted by hans brinker


Thanks for the correction, the props I flew, prop handle all the way back feathered the prop. Are these buttons push to feather and pull to unfeather? Is there a guard or something like that, or could you accidentally push 2 at the same time if you had fat fingers?
Yes Hans, on the DC 6 you would push to feather and pull to unfeather. If I remember correctly that was also the case on the DC-3 and CV 340. Those switches would be protected either by say a tube guard around them and have openings at the sides to pull back out the button to unfeather or they would have say half tube to allow a pull out from the not protected section.
Pushing two at the same time seems to me a very hard thing to happen but who knows how these switches on the crashed B-17 were protected.
I am new here and my posts first have to be checked out but on my previous one which has not come out tried to describe the procedure we used to confirm and push.
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Old 17th Oct 2019, 00:59
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From the flight manual.
PROPELLER FEATHERING SWITCHES. Each propeller is feathered individually by one of the four red push button switches above the central control panel on the instrument panel. Pushing the switch in starts an electric pump in the nacelle which supplies hydraulic power for the feathering operation. When the propeller is fully feathered the push button automatically releases, stopping the pump. To stop the operation before feathering is complete, pull out the switch button by hand. To unfeather a propeller, the push-buttons witch must be manually held in the closed position until unfeathering has been accomplished.
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Old 17th Oct 2019, 03:51
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Thanks Megan.
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Old 17th Oct 2019, 19:09
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Yes, it is possible to put the propeller into "feather" pitch with the prop (RPM) lever on the console. But the feather button in most aircraft also triggers several other actions to isolate the engine at the firewall by closing valves to shut off fuel, oil, hydraulic fluid flow, disconnect electrical connections and arm the fire extinguisher bottle (if equipped). Some propellers, once feathered, a pin drops into place and will require maintenance to reset the pin and manually move the blade back to a normal pitch position.
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Old 17th Oct 2019, 19:56
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Originally Posted by moosepileit
Yes. Once the design type is aged enough you can add the letters.

You don't use them on radio call or in searches.
X- experimental, R-Restricted, L- Limited, C- Classic
Thanks.

Originally Posted by Three Lima Charlie
Yes, it is possible to put the propeller into "feather" pitch with the prop (RPM) lever on the console. But the feather button in most aircraft also triggers several other actions to isolate the engine at the firewall by closing valves to shut off fuel, oil, hydraulic fluid flow, disconnect electrical connections and arm the fire extinguisher bottle (if equipped). Some propellers, once feathered, a pin drops into place and will require maintenance to reset the pin and manually move the blade back to a normal pitch position.
How much of this applies to the B-17? Will the prop lever really feather the engine on this plane?
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Old 18th Oct 2019, 00:05
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Not yet allowed to post links here but if anyone is interested in an excellent tour around and in the B-17 including feathering procedures try doing a search with this key words
The mentioned procedure is at the end. That guy did a superb job presenting the aircraft he flies!
B-17 Flying Fortress Walkaround Aluminum Overcast
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Old 18th Oct 2019, 00:08
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No idea why the bracket info was added, do not use it for the search.
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Old 18th Oct 2019, 00:45
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Originally Posted by WING7
No idea why the bracket info was added, do not use it for the search.
It has something to do with the message editing interface which was recently 'improved'. Supposedly you can look at the source code with the button on the menu bar and hand patch the HTML tags. I try to clean up the formatting before I post but sometimes just give up.
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Old 18th Oct 2019, 21:08
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Originally Posted by Three Lima Charlie
Yes, it is possible to put the propeller into "feather" pitch with the prop (RPM) lever on the console. But the feather button in most aircraft also triggers several other actions to isolate the engine at the firewall by closing valves to shut off fuel, oil, hydraulic fluid flow, disconnect electrical connections and arm the fire extinguisher bottle (if equipped). Some propellers, once feathered, a pin drops into place and will require maintenance to reset the pin and manually move the blade back to a normal pitch position.
That's a fancy feather button. In DC-3s, Super Threes, recip Convairs and DC-6s (the only recip transports Iíve flown) all those other actions besides feathering the prop were separate controls. And in none of them would pulling the prop control all the way back drive the prop to feather.
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Old 18th Oct 2019, 22:07
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Originally Posted by Three Lima Charlie
Yes, it is possible to put the propeller into "feather" pitch with the prop (RPM) lever on the console. But the feather button in most aircraft also triggers several other actions to isolate the engine at the firewall by closing valves to shut off fuel, oil, hydraulic fluid flow, disconnect electrical connections and arm the fire extinguisher bottle (if equipped). Some propellers, once feathered, a pin drops into place and will require maintenance to reset the pin and manually move the blade back to a normal pitch position.
MarkerInbound obviously paid attention in class and has it exactly correct. The feather button does only one thing and that is to close a relay that starts the the feather pump motor. It takes 300 psi to feather on this engine / propeller combination and 600 psi to unfeather. The feather button has no other functions, none! And, retarding the prop control lever fully will only allow the propeller governor to go to the high pitch stops and low RPM not feather as in a light twin. Fuel shut-off, hydraulic and oil isolation is accomplished by an engine fluid shut-off handle or fire handle. Some of these handles will arm the fire extinguisher bottles, depending on the aircraft type, others will not. Additionally, you can't be serious about a pin dropping in place to prevent unfeathering. There are no such pins in the dome of any of the round engine types I have flown. The only thing that comes close to this comment and had to be reset on the ground is a cabin compressor which did have this feature, if disconnected in flight.
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 03:06
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As a general statement, like the DC-3, Cessna 310, and and a few other types, the B-17 has split flaps. Unlike plain or Fowler flaps, split flaps do a lot more for drag, than lift when extended. Were I to be trying to "make the field" with less than the power I wished I had, I would not be lowering any split flap, until I was fairly sure of making the runway. Faster approach speed, yes, but better than all that drag if you think you can't make it. I can't speak for this unfortunate situation, but that's what I imagine...
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 13:31
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR
As a general statement, like the DC-3, Cessna 310, and and a few other types, the B-17 has split flaps. Unlike plain or Fowler flaps, split flaps do a lot more for drag, than lift when extended. Were I to be trying to "make the field" with less than the power I wished I had, I would not be lowering any split flap, until I was fairly sure of making the runway. Faster approach speed, yes, but better than all that drag if you think you can't make it. I can't speak for this unfortunate situation, but that's what I imagine...
True. Reminds me of BA38 at LHR. Without retracting some flap they would not have "made" the runway but crashed into the ILS antenna.
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 12:39
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It would be interesting to see their flight track, any link for that?
300 feet on downwind is nothing but very low, Wonder why/when they extended the gear and did not choose RWY 33.
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 16:16
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Originally Posted by WING7
It would be interesting to see their flight track, any link for that?
300 feet on downwind is nothing but very low, Wonder why/when they extended the gear and did not choose RWY 33.
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 20:52
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Thanks for the link.

Unfortunately it looks that it only shows the time they spend above an altitude of Aprox. 570 feet. ( Maybe 35% of their flight time )
Guess they did a very short base. Anyone knows? Have not been able to find any videos of their flight, less so of their base and final.

Wish the controller would have given a heads up that they could use any runway they wished and 33 was available if it was. (I am aware they did not declare an emergency)

Mid field downwind at 300 feet probably indicates they had no power on two engines already there. That makes one wonder about their consciousness about their energy state and dropping the gear instead of planning for a belly landing till the runway was clearly reachable.

That flight crew was very experienced, who knows what they were dealing with. My respects to them, just scratching my head of how this all ended up this way.





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Old 20th Oct 2019, 21:45
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Originally Posted by WING7
T

Mid field downwind at 300 feet probably indicates they had no power on two engines already there. That makes one wonder about their consciousness about their energy state and dropping the gear instead of planning for a belly landing till the runway was clearly reachable.
Do we even know that the gear was ever up? Seems they knew they had to come back very soon after take-off. Like you, I'm also wondering about videos. When Collings comes to our location, there are always folks taking videos.
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 21:51
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Originally Posted by b1lanc
Do we even know that the gear was ever up? Seems they knew they had to come back very soon after take-off. Like you, I'm also wondering about videos. When Collings comes to our location, there are always folks taking videos.
Also, did anyone hear if there was a voice recorder installed? It would be difficult and probably impractical to install a meaningful FDR on an aircraft of that vintage, but a CVR would be reasonably easy.
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Old 20th Oct 2019, 23:27
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Originally Posted by b1lanc
Do we even know that the gear was ever up? Seems they knew they had to come back very soon after take-off. Like you, I'm also wondering about videos. When Collings comes to our location, there are always folks taking videos.
Absolutely, and then with No.3 and 4 engines out could they have retracted it systemwise? All of them?

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Old 21st Oct 2019, 00:00
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Do not know how well the B-17 performs with one engine out but specialy on the old radial engine aircrafts I flew we did retract the gear ASAP, even more so with an Eng. failure.
Those tired birds would hardly climb.
One of the first priotities with an Eng. failure was to reduce power on the tired or tired ones left alive to avoid a second failure.

Not trying to imply anything here.
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Old 21st Oct 2019, 01:10
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The gear is electrically operated on the B-17, and quite slow compared to hydraulic gear on more modern types. I don’t believe that the aircraft could climb much on two engines regardless of the gear position,

What evidence is there that two engines were shut down? The previous mention of low pitch prop blade angles on the number three prop suggest blades not quite feathered, not blades in fine pitch.
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