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Dallas air show crash

Old 15th Nov 2022, 21:15
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Chiefttp, I think your last sentence says it all !! Thoughts with everyone affected! Bill
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Old 15th Nov 2022, 21:52
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In my part of the world at least 'human factors' is a part of the pilot's syllabus, and is examined at least for PPL and CPL.

When I did postgraduate 'human factors' at Uni many years ago it was closely aligned with ergonomics, for obvious reasons - after all the design of something will afford a human operator certain operations, certain views, and in some cases can lead that human to perform unintended actions.

With regard to various aircraft I've flown over the years I've often been reminded of just how poor some are with regard to ergonomic design than others. As a general rule the earlier one goes back the worse they are. This comes out in all sorts of ways; from the simple positioning of various levers, switches, gauges to the ability for some controls to be manipulated in ways they weren't intended, or two completely disparate controls to be placed close together yet look and feel the same.

Another issue, as has been discussed here to some extent, is the view afforded in any direction to the pilot of a particular aircraft. While there does seem to be a little contention about it the opinion I've formed from what I've read here, and seen on the 'tube, is that the P-63 may have some issues - compared to other craft - with regard to pilot vision.

I don't intend to debate that, it's presented to give background and isn't really the point of my post, but what I did want to ask is whether general 'ergonomics' (or even just plain vision constraints) of different craft forms any part of a display assessment or plan?

To be clear; this isn't me making a dubious point or criticism, it's just that I've no experience of such planning and with the above in mind I simply wondered if it was a factor that those planning such shows consider?

Depending upon the answer I might also ask a supplementary question as to whether there was any value in considering such ergonomics, and possibly whether such could have impacted decisions at Dallas? This question, again, would simply be in order to learn, and I'd be obliged to anyone answering that has experience in this area.

FP.

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Old 15th Nov 2022, 22:12
  #143 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by uxb99
Not forgetting that if we lived our lives worrying about what might happen, we would never do anything.
I think most here would agree that in a demanding aviation operation, safety is best served when everyone on the airplane has a job to do and knows when and how to do it, and there is nobody around to distract them.

That said, if I was running a display including multi-seat airplanes, I might sometimes be glad of a rule to that effect. So that when Mr Mayor, the Chair of the Airport Commission, or the local TV personality comes pushing for a ride, I can smile sweetly and say "I would just looove to give you that opportunity, sir, but you see, the Feds..."
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Old 15th Nov 2022, 23:34
  #144 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by LowObservable
I think most here would agree that in a demanding aviation operation, safety is best served when everyone on the airplane has a job to do and knows when and how to do it, and there is nobody around to distract them.

That said, if I was running a display including multi-seat airplanes, I might sometimes be glad of a rule to that effect. So that when Mr Mayor, the Chair of the Airport Commission, or the local TV personality comes pushing for a ride, I can smile sweetly and say "I would just looove to give you that opportunity, sir, but you see, the Feds..."
A while back the mayor and other officials of the City of Saint Louis got wiped out in a publicity flight. https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/lo...r/63-579472206
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Old 15th Nov 2022, 23:36
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Originally Posted by LowObservable
I think most here would agree that in a demanding aviation operation, safety is best served when everyone on the airplane has a job to do and knows when and how to do it, and there is nobody around to distract them.
If the left waist gunner position was manned the person stationed there would have had a clear view of the approaching P-63. Was everyone on board briefed to call conflicting traffic or were they just along for the ride? Quite possible that a lumbering B-17 couldn't have made a significant difference in separation but I see no reaction at all in any of the video.
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Old 15th Nov 2022, 23:49
  #146 (permalink)  
 
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Quite possible that a lumbering B-17 couldn't have made a significant difference in separation but I see no reaction at all in any of the video.
My guess is that even if someone on board saw the incoming P63, there would've been insufficient time to:
- realise it was on a collision course
- call that to the pilots in a meaningful way
- for the pilots to take effective avoidance action.

Looks like there would've been only a few seconds for the realisation of the danger to be processed, if anyone indeed saw it.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 06:14
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Originally Posted by dbenj
Yes, I read it. Loss of SA provides an adequate explanation for this accident.

The P-63 turn not only overshoots the fighter parade line by 1000 feet (or whatever the prescribed flight line separation), but also was overshooting the bomber parade line before the collision. Why was he so far outside the planned flight path? Flying a circuit along a line along the ground is one of the first things a pilot learns, yet a highly experienced professional pilot misjudges by 1000+ feet in a parade of aircraft? There has to be more to the story.
Having x amount of hours and a career in aviation does make one a professional experienced pilot. But I think you are trying to make more out of it than a simple answer that is sufficient. You only have to look at other aviation accidents that involve highly experienced professional pilots to understand that there is nothing more to it than a misjudgment, loss of SA etc.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 06:36
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Originally Posted by Flying_Scotsman
I am also concerned, from a UK perspective, why there were 5 people on the B17? UK rules dictate that only the minimum operating crew should be aboard during any display flying. I would expect that to be 2, or at the most 3?
Originally Posted by Bobby G
The way they justify the minimum crew of 5, is to add "safety observers" to the crew. This has been an ongoing conversation for over 20 years. But hard to defend. The FAA has long contended that only essential personnel should be on board so this accident will have lots of consequences.
They do this on the B-29 and I was guessing that they do this on the other large bombers too but Bobby G confirmed it. On the B-29 they are referred to as 'left scanner' and 'right scanner' and they are there to keep an eye on engines, visually confirm flaps and gear if necessary, look after people in the rear compartment if needed and keep their eyes outside for other traffic.
Originally Posted by EXDAC
If the left waist gunner position was manned the person stationed there would have had a clear view of the approaching P-63. Was everyone on board briefed to call conflicting traffic or were they just along for the ride? Quite possible that a lumbering B-17 couldn't have made a significant difference in separation but I see no reaction at all in any of the video.
Not just briefed, they were part of the crew and there for that purpose. They probably didn't have time to take any action (as Arm out the window already said two posts back).
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 14:04
  #149 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by dbenj
Yes, I read it. Loss of SA provides an adequate explanation for this accident.

The P-63 turn not only overshoots the fighter parade line by 1000 feet (or whatever the prescribed flight line separation), but also was overshooting the bomber parade line before the collision. Why was he so far outside the planned flight path? Flying a circuit along a line along the ground is one of the first things a pilot learns, yet a highly experienced professional pilot misjudges by 1000+ feet in a parade of aircraft? There has to be more to the story.
It appears you are overlooking the enormous difference between the P-63 pilot's day job and what he was doing on the day of the crash. At a guess, 99% of his flying hours were logged flying benign and carefully scripted procedures in a well-equipped modern aircraft with a second crew-member. His experience level at dynamic display flying at low level in an 80 year old single seat fighter will emerge in due course, but will likely be low.

There are perhaps some parallels with the two fatal vintage jets crashes in Britain in 2015, where both pilots involved had very little recency on dynamic manoeuvres in agile aircraft, and I suspect the scale of changes to display regulation which followed the Shoreham crash will be mirrored in the US in the months ahead.


Regarding Duxford, the balbo was indeed impressive to behold, but I was there the year when the P-51 was rammed by the Skyraider and the pilot of the former thankfully survived baling out from a very low height. IMHO having numerous aircraft in the same piece of sky flown by individuals who - despite their best intentions - have little opportunity to practise the complex manoeuvres is an unjustifiable risk.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 15:03
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First Prinipal,
You asked;
“Depending upon the answer I might also ask a supplementary question as to whether there was any value in considering such ergonomics, and possibly whether such could have impacted decisions at Dallas? This question, again, would simply be in order to learn, and I'd be obliged to anyone answering that has experience in this area.”

The P-63 was “belly Up” and above the B-17, therefore unless it was an invisible aircraft no amount of ergonomics would have prevented this collision. Also, the P-63 was a fighter plane, and designed as such to have good visibility (for the time period) in order to carry out its primary mission, which was to visually acquire enemy aircraft and shoot them down. The first thing we learned in the Air Force during formation training was always keep your leader, and wingman in sight. If you ever lose sight, call “Lost Wingman” and depart the formation ASAP. Also the most difficult part of formation flying isn’t flying in formation itself, it was rejoining with the other aircraft is an expeditious and Controlled manner. The fast rejoins displayed by formation teams like the Blue Angels or Red Arrows always impressed me way more than the fingertip formations they fly. So many things can go wrong during a rejoin, and this accident is an example of one of them. He was attempting to rejoin with the fighter in front of him, was fixated on that fighter and lost SA of his location and the B-17.

TorqueoftheDevil,
the P-63 pilot was an airline pilot, but he had extensive experience flying these warbirds and was considered an expert in the Warbird community. I believe he had over 34,000 hours total time. No rookie. Poor SA and target fixation is what caused this collision in my opinion.

Last edited by Chiefttp; 16th Nov 2022 at 15:15.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 15:08
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Observe how the rejoining aircraft is under control, and performing a slow controlled rejoin with lead. The rejoining aircraft isn’t on a collision course with lead, but on a parallel vector and is lower , climbing slowly up the rejoin line with a controlled closure rate. Closure rate is difficult to gauge and it’s easy to misjudge until it’s too late. That’s why we paractice closures a lot.
Aerial refueling and hooking up to a tanker wasn’t as difficult as coordinating a rendevous with the tanker and joining up with him to get the gas.

Last edited by Chiefttp; 16th Nov 2022 at 16:10.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 15:10
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Safety lectures

50 years ago I raised the subject of discussing accidents with our course head which fell on deaf ears even though he had lost his flying career from a self induced accident. Two years later it was apparently introduced to the syllabus after I penned a letter for the lane inquiry re the then philosophy of hiding mistakes.
The last 25 years I've flown in extremely close proximity to others albeit at low speeds amassing several thousand hours but most of the time unless I know the pilots concerned I keep well away.
From experience people do a lot of ridiculous things often from target fixation..I've done the same.
IMHO a lot of different types flying around relatively randomly is a recipe for disaster.
I did Oskosh in the early 90s and was impressed by their organisation often with multiple similar aircraft in the air at the same time.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 15:37
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I'm not a fan of videos analysing accidents that just happened, but I must admit that this one from ASI Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden is balanced and covers the basics of what will be investigated by the NTSB:
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 21:56
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Torque, when you said "His experience level at dynamic display flying at low level in an 80 year old single seat fighter will emerge in due course, but will likely be low" you were well off the beam. Craig Hutain had a lot of experience flying machines like the P-63, P-40 etc.
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Old 16th Nov 2022, 23:24
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Originally Posted by finestkind
Having x amount of hours and a career in aviation does make one a professional experienced pilot. But I think you are trying to make more out of it than a simple answer that is sufficient. You only have to look at other aviation accidents that involve highly experienced professional pilots to understand that there is nothing more to it than a misjudgment, loss of SA etc.
Sorry. Still not buying "simple" loss of SA.

This was neither a complex or highly dynamic situation. While there were numerous aircraft in the air, the immediate task for the P-63 before the collision was pretty basic: make a descending turn onto an established line following other aircraft. Happens every landing, often with other parallel landing traffic. SFO comes to mind. No absolute need to know where the B-17 location, because its parade line was significantly offset from the the established fighter parade line. (What was the briefed separation of the parade lines?) Still the P-63 significantly overshoot the turn. Something else was going on.
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 01:55
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Originally Posted by dbenj
Sorry. Still not buying "simple" loss of SA.

This was neither a complex or highly dynamic situation. While there were numerous aircraft in the air, the immediate task for the P-63 before the collision was pretty basic: make a descending turn onto an established line following other aircraft. Happens every landing, often with other parallel landing traffic. SFO comes to mind. No absolute need to know where the B-17 location, because its parade line was significantly offset from the the established fighter parade line. (What was the briefed separation of the parade lines?) Still the P-63 significantly overshoot the turn. Something else was going on.
Pilot in a fast, descending left bank with conflicting, slower traffic under his dead wing - but I wonder even if the B-17 had been visible, would he have seen it?
Most of the bomber upper surfaces are dark green - would have been very hard to spot against even a built up area from above.
Dreadful, dreadful accident - and a sobering reminder of the horrors that many brave young men faced during the war.
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 04:18
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.....and a sobering reminder of the horrors that many brave young men faced during the war.
Yes, though in war, there were very different standards for risk and safety, and entirely different piloting objectives than at an airshow of antique aircraft. I would never say that war should be unsafe, but I will say that airshow flying should be most safe! An airshow is not the place to improvise, or "catch up" an error. The default pilot action should be follow a planned escape if anything is not right. The moment the pilot thinks to correct an error, the pilot should be asking themself if it's time to follow the escape plan instead, and evaluate a planned rejoin from a suitable situational awareness. Sure, very high time pilot, but that is not an assurance against complacency, and acceptance of risk not suitable for that situation. Sometimes the lesser experienced pilot, who is still a little intimidated by the flying environment, is more on their game.
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 04:37
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but I wonder even if the B-17 had been visible, would he have seen it
Tracing out the tracks of the two aircaft from when the P-63 rolled from an easterly heading to northerly the relative bearing between the two remain pretty much constant, in the order of 40-45°, such a position would have the B-17 placed close to, or hiding behind the P-63 forward door structure according to plans, from rolling on to the northerly heading to collision was of the order of 20 seconds, relative altitudes not given, only P-63 reported, the maximum lateral separation they had was of the order of 2,700 feet during northerly flight. No, or very little relative motion, camouflaged B-17, NTSB report will figure it all out.
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 07:10
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Looks like a classic join crash. Seen it nearly happen many times in fighter aircraft accompanied by raised heartbeats from all involved. It happens because of tunnel vision on aircraft joining, unfortunately the P-63 was pure pursuit on B-17 which means it had no lateral motion and believe it or not was probably hidden behind P-63 canopy bow until too late to avoid. Very sad. RIP
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 11:39
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There is an inherent flaw in judging pilots primarily on their flight time.
What the non flying public doesn’t know or understand is that a lot of specific experiences do not necessarily carry over.
The generic experience and skill sets do but the specifics do not.
The NTSB will determine through their investigation how much experience each participant had in their particular seat during the event.
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