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Private aircraft crash in Baltic Sea

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Private aircraft crash in Baltic Sea

Old 6th Sep 2022, 13:34
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Originally Posted by EDLB View Post
Typo.
Reportedly the pilots could see anyone in the cockpit.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 14:03
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The fact he climbed to fl360 after reporting problems with pressurization system lets me assume the owner was the kind of pilot who likes to take some risk and continue with a questionable aircraft .

Beyond the question if the pilot was in the cabin or not i,m asking myself why none of the passengers was able to grab a mask that should be automatically deployed in the cabin ?

Was the oxygen bottle empty or not even installed , the system not operational ?

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Old 6th Sep 2022, 14:48
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Originally Posted by aerobat77 View Post
The fact he climbed to fl360 after reporting problems with pressurization system lets me assume the owner was the kind of pilot who likes to take some risk and continue with a questionable aircraft .

Beyond the question if the pilot was in the cabin or not i,m asking myself why none of the passengers was able to grab a mask that should be automatically deployed in the cabin ?

Was the oxygen bottle empty or not even installed , the system not operational ?
The fact the aircraft continued to climb indicates it was on autopilot and simply did what it was programmed to do.
Climb to preset altitude and fly programmed route.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 14:49
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I'm not at all convinced that he contacted ATC with a report of pressurisation problems until he was at cruise altitude or close to it. Statements above on the lines of "shortly after takeoff" do not align with the Toledo sector being at least 100 miles N of Jerez, his departure point.

Anyone familiar on type?
Where is the O2 bottle mounted? Is it (and the tap) accessible in flight?
A non-functioning mask (bottle empty/tap off) could be a possible reason to leave one's seat?

Also, the Baltic is shallow. There's every possibility of salvage.

Last edited by meleagertoo; 6th Sep 2022 at 15:27.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 15:17
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
Anyone familiar on type?
Where is the O2 bottle mounted? Is it (and the tap) accessible in flight?

Hi its either in the Nose Compartment along with the Regulator On/Off valve or in the Tail Cone area. In 1985 there was a SB 550-35-1 released by Cessna about moving the Cylinder to the Tail Cone area. I don't know if this aircraft had it carried out.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 15:18
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Would the "tail cone area" be accessible in flight?
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 15:27
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Originally Posted by B2N2 View Post
The fact the aircraft continued to climb indicates it was on autopilot and simply did what it was programmed to do.
Climb to preset altitude and fly programmed route.
No . The 551 is a fine but elderly bird without fancy stuff like autothrottle or sophisticated vnav . If he would faint at significantly lower altitudes during climb and leave the aircraft alone without further advancing throttles and reducing vs when getting higher the aircraft would simply run out of IAS and stall.

This is especially true when we realize that asking a 551 on a hot spanish summer day with full tanks straight away to fl 360 is on the upper edge of performance and the last thousands are going sloooowly.

The climbout was at least very close to top of climb pilot assisted .
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 15:47
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Originally Posted by aerobat77 View Post
No . The 551 is a fine but elderly bird without fancy stuff like autothrottle or sophisticated vnav . If he would faint at significantly lower altitudes during climb and leave the aircraft alone without further advancing throttles and reducing vs when getting higher the aircraft would simply run out of IAS and stall.

This is especially true when we realize that asking a 551 on a hot spanish summer day with full tanks straight away to fl 360 is on the upper edge of performance and the last thousands are going sloooowly.

The climbout was at least very close to top of climb pilot assisted .
Thanks for the additional info.
My experience is limited to Ď02-Ď04 525ís and even that was long enough ago that I donít remember.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 15:57
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
Would the "tail cone area" be accessible in flight?
No, it is not.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 17:45
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There is a possibility that the pilot decided to continue on oxygen, but civilian passengers and many civilian crew are not used to being on oxygen for extended periods.

Emergency passenger oxygen is designed to keep them alive long enough to regain a viable altitude.

The real problem is that you won't realise that you have a problem in time to fix it.

Above 16,000 I'm watching my pulse oximeter.

Another possibility is that the pilot lost useful consciousness before he could effectively manage the problem. Older people and/or those with reduced lung function may need oxygen at lower altitudes.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 18:09
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B2N2 - you,re welcome !

Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
Where is the O2 bottle mounted? Is it (and the tap) accessible in flight?
A non-functioning mask (bottle empty/tap off) could be a possible reason to leave one's seat?
Maybe not for the bottle since its like previously said not accessible but of course it could be as easy as he went to the cabin to look for e.g a hissing entry door seal and all of the sudden the seal blew then .

It would indeed be very interesting to learn WHEN he reported pressurization problems - during early climbout or at cruise ?

The crucial question for me like written : was the oxygen system operational at all ??? Nobody was able to grab the mask ?
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 18:53
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Originally Posted by aerobat77 View Post
The 551 is a fine but elderly bird without fancy stuff like autothrottle or sophisticated vnav.
But since this one was cleared to FL360 it must have been RVSM approved and therefore had the required equipment installed. One of the postings further up this thread has a link to a sales advert of this same airframe whilst on it's original N registration. You can clearly see that some modern avionics have been fitted. I would assume that it had some form of altitude pre-select available ("altitude alert" is required for RVSM certification and one usually does not come without the other). If it was climbing in "flight level change" mode (which is speed/mach hold in Cessna language) with the throttles set to climb thrust it will eventually and safely reach FL360, however long that takes. Therefore I am not convinced that the pilot actively flew the plane during the entire climb. He may well have dialled in 36.000ft when he received the clearance and fainted any time thereafter.
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 02:15
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Apologies if this is a daft question, not having ever flown a jet.

If the pressurisation problem started at FL360, and for whatever reason oxy didn't work, one would hopefully be able to dial in 10,000ft for a descent on autopilot with the time available before fainting, with the expectation that you'd wake up later on as the cabin altitude decreases.

It seems that this pilot didn't do that, for whatever reason, so this is more of a hypothetical question.

On a jet like this without autothrottle, how would you set the thrust in this situation? Idle seems appropriate for a max rate descent if you're in control, but in case you don't wake up before autopilot levels off at 10,000ft, idle is going to be problematic...
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 08:22
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bobbytables,

Your thought is reasonable. Without knowing the specifics about the pressurization problem there is a good chance the startle factor (from a non-working O2 mask) and TUC (time of useful conciousness) precluded that. If the decompression was slow there is a greater chance of that working. All training assumes the O2-system is working though, any other creative solution to the problem is a bonus.

Idle would be your best bet and if it got that far. You just have to assume you will wake up.
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 09:14
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ToUC numbers are quite frightening although applicable to a sudden and complete loss of pressurisation.

There is a lucky moment in that, the situation is clearly understood at once by a qualified pilot, recency and proficiency level regardless. Which triggers the drill and steers the actions towards a survivable outcome.

Different from the above, all the events disussed here evolved into tragedies while their crews were not sufficiently aware how critical the pressurisation problem was.



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Old 7th Sep 2022, 09:30
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Originally Posted by what next View Post
Therefore I am not convinced that the pilot actively flew the plane during the entire climb. He may well have dialled in 36.000ft when he received the clearance and fainted any time thereafter.
The aircraft turned on to a ENE course near Paris and altered course several times between there and Cologne; would those changes be pre-programmed into the A/P or require intervention by the pilot?
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 09:44
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Originally Posted by Discorde View Post
A complication in busy skies is the advisability of starting a max rate descent immediately after donning O2 masks. Excerpt from 'How To Do Well in the Sim'*:

When you call ‘MAYDAY’, if you're in busy airspace and you can get some sort of ATC clearance before you plummet, so much the better. It would be pointless doing the drill perfectly and then slamming into another aircraft beneath you on the way down. It's unlikely your TCAS will call out sensible RAs, nor those of nearby aircraft. The question is: ‘how long do I spend trying to get an emergency descent clearance before hypoxia begins to affect the passengers and cabin crew?’ And of course no-one can give you an answer – you must use your judgement as to when to start down if ATC can’t help.

*caveat: this article was written several years ago and procedures might have changed in the intervening period.
Sorry but that SIM article is nonsense.

You don't ask ATC and wait for a clearance in an emergency.

You do the drill*. You fly the escape manoeuvre**. You keep clear of terrain. Then you talk to ATC.

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.

* The drill might include making a brief "MAYDAY" call.
** Which for an emergency descent usually involves turning out of the airway.
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 09:47
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
The aircraft turned on to a ENE course near Paris and altered course several times between there and Cologne; would those changes be pre-programmed into the A/P or require intervention by the pilot?
If you're in HDG mode, it requires intervention. If in NAV, it'll happily do it itself.
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 09:52
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Thankyou Sepp!
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 12:31
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. . . which for an emergency descent usually involves turning out of the airway
'Turning out of the airway' might be impossible in some congested regions of airspace with many aircraft on direct routings, such as the NE or SW US or NW Europe.

An aircraft dropping through the levels at a very high rate of descent might trigger an avalanche of interreacting TCAS RAs in surrounding traffic which in turn might jeopardise safe separations.

Can modern ATC and TCAS systems adequately deal with such an event? (I ask as someone who retired from the business 14 years ago.)
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