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C421 crash Long Island

Old 12th Jan 2021, 08:34
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C421 crash Long Island

Any thoughts on this video: https://nypost.com/2021/01/11/video-...njured-pilot/?
Pilot severely injured but alive. Engine problems reported but to me it looks as if forward speed was very low at impact.
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 09:09
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https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/246603

Forward airspeed looked almost negligible - port wing may have absorbed much of the impact? Very lucky, hope he is making a good recovery.
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 09:54
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The airframe came down on what appeared to be a clump of bushes and/or small trees, I guess that absorbed some of the energy along with the wing and underfloor structure (probably not much of that on this type).
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 12:15
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The airplane was obviously fully stalled, so it was a failure of the pilot to maintain flying speed. Of course, engine power really helps a pilot to maintain flying speed, but it's still possible, and rarely necessary, to maintain flying speed without any engine power, even in a twin. So it should be practiced. A pilot must do whatever is necessary to assure that sufficient flying speed is maintained to (a) maintain controlled flight, and (b) reserve enough speed to flare, and arrest a descent just prior to contacting the surface. If, in the last 100 feet before contacting the surface, the plane is stalled, arrival will be painful. And, when you're stalled, you have very little control as to where you actually go, so controlling to your selected contact point is very difficult. I don't know the phase of flight from which this crash occurred, though I'm thinking that because the gear was up, it wasn't a final approach, but it is a reminder, particularly for single pilots, to maintain at least Vy, and Vy and Vmca for twin pilots.

A 421 is a rather high wingloading plane, so though it will glide okay, the pilot has to maintain flying speed, it has little tolerance for getting slow. I believe, that like the 310/340 I used to fly, in the 421, the pilot more or less sits on the main wing spar. With the gear up, there is little to absorb a belly landing, so make it gentle. In other types (C 210, for example), there is some pretty well empty fuselage under the seats, so there will be a little absorption of a belly landing, but not if you're sitting on the spar, and the spar is the first thing to hit the ground. Yes, hitting one wing down absorbed a little energy, but not enough.

I find that the more advanced the plane, and more self assured the pilot, the less pilots practice on type with the most basic power off flying skills. In each of my two planes, I'll practice a power off landing from downwind at least once a month or so. I get that it would seem very odd to practice a power off landing in a 421, but had the pilot maintained that skill, this outcome would have been better. Yes, the pilot survived, but a hit that hard will have him/her recovering for a long time....
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 12:36
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Apparently climbing out of Farmingdale, lost one and was trying to return when the other failed..
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 12:57
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
The airplane was obviously fully stalled, so it was a failure of the pilot to maintain flying speed. Of course, engine power really helps a pilot to maintain flying speed, but it's still possible, and rarely necessary, to maintain flying speed without any engine power, even in a twin. So it should be practiced. A pilot must do whatever is necessary to assure that sufficient flying speed is maintained to (a) maintain controlled flight, and (b) reserve enough speed to flare, and arrest a descent just prior to contacting the surface. If, in the last 100 feet before contacting the surface, the plane is stalled, arrival will be painful. And, when you're stalled, you have very little control as to where you actually go, so controlling to your selected contact point is very difficult. I don't know the phase of flight from which this crash occurred, though I'm thinking that because the gear was up, it wasn't a final approach, but it is a reminder, particularly for single pilots, to maintain at least Vy, and Vy and Vmca for twin pilots.

A 421 is a rather high wingloading plane, so though it will glide okay, the pilot has to maintain flying speed, it has little tolerance for getting slow. I believe, that like the 310/340 I used to fly, in the 421, the pilot more or less sits on the main wing spar. With the gear up, there is little to absorb a belly landing, so make it gentle. In other types (C 210, for example), there is some pretty well empty fuselage under the seats, so there will be a little absorption of a belly landing, but not if you're sitting on the spar, and the spar is the first thing to hit the ground. Yes, hitting one wing down absorbed a little energy, but not enough.

I find that the more advanced the plane, and more self assured the pilot, the less pilots practice on type with the most basic power off flying skills. In each of my two planes, I'll practice a power off landing from downwind at least once a month or so. I get that it would seem very odd to practice a power off landing in a 421, but had the pilot maintained that skill, this outcome would have been better. Yes, the pilot survived, but a hit that hard will have him/her recovering for a long time....
Lot of Monday Morning Quarter-backing going on here. . . . if only they had your skills. . . .
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 14:12
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Lot of Monday Morning Quarter-backing going on here. . . . if only they had your skills. . . .
I've only done four emergency power off landings, and all in singles, but I have not damaged one doing it. I'm not saying that I could apply skills to preventing a messy crash under these circumstances. But I would apply my skill to try to arrive to the crash site with flying speed and under control. I've done a lot of advance single engine type training, and I find generally that the candidate pilot has not recently practiced power off landings - so we do.

When I had the great pleasure of a day's visit with former contributor here, John Farley, he told me many inspiring stories about flight testing Hawker Harriers. One of them was his intended power off landing in a Harrier on the dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base (effectively unlimited length runway). Though I have never flown anything like a Harrier, I believe that if it can be successfully landed power off, any GA plane can. It may be messy, for lack of a decent plot of open land, but it should be under some control. I was inspired by John to maintain these basic skills, and to pass on their importance.

This video shows exactly what I warn pilots I train to not do - get slow power off, and loose control.
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 14:49
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
Apparently climbing out of Farmingdale, lost one and was trying to return when the other failed..
It appears (to me anyway) that engine no.2 was feathered prior to impact, which indicates to me that the pilot had some time to deal with the emergency. Of course, in accidents of this nature, there is always the spectre of shutting down the wrong engine. At this point, who knows? I surely don't, but I do enjoy speculating.

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Old 12th Jan 2021, 18:33
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From that video it didn't look like there was anywhere suitable to land. Hitting things at minimum speed matters. He may have done the best possible for forward and vertical speed combined. I assume the landfill is behind the building. Were there vehicles/people on the landfill, seen only when very low?
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Old 12th Jan 2021, 21:25
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Originally Posted by Maoraigh1 View Post
From that video it didn't look like there was anywhere suitable to land. Hitting things at minimum speed matters. He may have done the best possible for forward and vertical speed combined. I assume the landfill is behind the building. Were there vehicles/people on the landfill, seen only when very low?
Hitting anything at minimum speed won't help much if the aircraft is utterly out of control and dropping into an incipient spin at impact, as appears to be the case here.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 10:21
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Yup, minimum forward and vertical speed - important, remaining in control up to the point of impact - critical!
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 12:38
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A wise person once told me: "Chances of survival are inversely proportional to angle of arrival". If you're flying, you know that you have to contact the surface at some point. The more parallel you are, the better the outcome. Airplanes are designed to protect the occupants through a much greater forward crash load than a vertical impact load. For obvious reasons, helicopter occupant design standards are different, more protecting for vertical arrival to the surface. Losing control of the plane just before contact with the ground should never be a crash survival tactic, unless you're sacrificing yourself to save someone else on the surface.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 15:10
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The exception to that rule was the 'stall the aircraft into the treetops' option that was sometimes exercised when faced with an unplanned glider over an extensive forest. In this particular case, the aircraft, or the occupant I should say, may have benefited from encountering some bushes or small trees, but the manner in which it arrived suggests that any control over the path was lost at an earlier stage. Fostex's point has also been stated as 'fly the aircraft as far into the crash as possible' although I cannot remember who was the source for that nugget of wisdom.
What made this video stand out for me is that we rarely see the last part of the arrival in such detail. Fortunately the occupant is still alive to tell the tale. The point about the spar being below the seats is an interesting one. I am aware of the fact that light aeroplanes, including twins, rarely have much of a crumple zone below the seats or floor. Take a C150 for example where the distance between your own back end and the bottom of the fuselage is only a couple of inches. It makes the fact that the pilot survived this accident all the more rare.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 16:33
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The exception to that rule was the 'stall the aircraft into the treetops'
Yes, and I agree, though the idea would be to stall in from level flight along the treetops, rather than descend into the trees fully stalled from umpteen feet up. When you decide to stall into treetops, I would presume that you have chosen your path, and perhaps aimed between the big trees. Otherwise, yes, fly as far into the crash as you can.

Take a C150 for example where the distance between your own back end and the bottom of the fuselage is only a couple of inches.
'More of a concern in a RG, the 150 has amazingly absorbent landing gear legs. The difference being that there is a crush zone of underfloor bulkheads between the belly skin, and the floor, and the seat legs, then cushion, on any highwing single which comes to my mind. For those low wing types where you sit on the spar, particularly RG's, there is only seat cushion and very short seat legs to absorb vertical loads. When I was young, I was attending the Oshkosh airshow. I witnessed a Siai Marchetti 260 pilot deliberately enter a spin from only a few hundred feet up ('cause the announcer said: "he will now demonstrate a spin..."). He impacted in a vertical descent right in front of me, and was fatally injured. With the gear up, and hitting vertically, while sitting on the spar, only his spine absorbed the vertical load. We had to taxi past the wreck when we flew home that day - photo.

Note in my photo, the wrinkle in the aft fuselage, and flattened bottoms of the tip tank, along with absence of any slide marks whatever, to show how hard it hit vertically.

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/39240




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Old 13th Jan 2021, 17:41
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Alleged communication from the event.

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Old 13th Jan 2021, 22:43
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It's fortunate that there was no post impact fire. Fuel starvation ... maybe?

Regards,
Grog
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 22:56
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Well, I know that the controller was doing his best, and trying to help, but in a highly stressful time for the pilot, he saturated the pilot with helpful information, but it was still saturation. When the controller said you're 4 miles out, at 1100 feet, there was the big clue to everyone that the plane was not going to make it back to the airport power off. I'm guessing that a 421 descends at more than 1100 FPM power off. If it was being flown at even 120 knots (which I bet gets you much more than 1100 FPM), it'll only make it half way back. 'Sounds like it crashed just less than half way back. When you're committed to a forced landing, you may as well be realistic about where you can get to, and make a better job inside the comfortable glide range, rather than a stalled crash at the edge of the glide range. Knowing your comfortable glide range is important, even in a twin.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 08:42
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Old 15th Jan 2021, 16:40
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My lasting memory of my one year flying the 421 commercially was that it flew on 2 engines about as well as they said it flew on 1.
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Old 16th Jan 2021, 00:36
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Originally Posted by blue up View Post
My lasting memory of my one year flying the 421 commercially was that it flew on 2 engines about as well as they said it flew on 1.
I found the 421 delightful to fly. Very solid and stable on instruments with better than King Air 90 performance. However you absolutely had to know and understand how to operate the engines and systems, particularly the very complex fuel system.
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