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Novice pilotís Alpine crash-landing on Cima di Cece saves the day

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.

Novice pilotís Alpine crash-landing on Cima di Cece saves the day

Old 1st Jan 2023, 22:26
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More complete video of the recovery here:

The accident site is well off the direct route from LIDT to LIDB and there appears to be no need to cross the ridge to reach the destination. That's an observation not a criticism. I enjoy playing close to the rocks and the views there must be spectacular.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 03:13
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This may have been induction icing or carb icing. Incorrect leaning. Three adults and fuel in a PA28 and youíre close to weight limits.
At a density altitude of 9000í the rate of climb is below 500ft/min. Even just a whiff of a downdraft puts you in a decent.
Maybe lost a magneto hence the starting issues.
She saved her passengers and letís be gentle judging the inexperienced.
Thereís an appropriate saying about a bucket of luck and bucket of experience.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 07:35
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I am certainly no expert, but on the recovery video for the prop it looks like only the bottom blade is bent, and the top blade undamaged.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 08:39
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Extremely lucky that she didn’t slide backwards off the mountain. Single blade damage reflects that the engine had stopped and the bend that it acted as a brake. One landed in a field and had to play one armed bandit getting the straps and canopy off whilst holding onto the wheel brake to stop the glider running back downhill.

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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 09:50
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Lucky lady, if foolish. Mountain passes are not for the novice, as she evidently is. Mountain flying requires specific knowledge not covered in any PPL syllabus. I would venture to suggest that this tyro knows nothing about mountain flying.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 10:10
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Originally Posted by hans brinker View Post
I am certainly no expert, but on the recovery video for the prop it looks like only the bottom blade is bent, and the top blade undamaged.
indeed and it would indicate the engine was stopped, could be by itself if it broke down but also if she followed the emergency procedures i.e. cut the fuel and ignition before putting it down ,
FAA on-line pilot registry shows the accident pilot was issued private pilot airplane single engine land based on a foreign (Italy) license. Date of issue October 17, 2022.
So she did not "learn to fly "in the US and she could have much more experience that we discuss here then, A good reminder that we should always be careful in passing definite judgements based on newspaper reports...
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 14:46
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The accident location appears to be close to 46į 15.488'N 11į 39.847'E at an elevation of about 7,000 ft. That's only about 100 ft short of clearing the ridgeline.

Approach to the ridge appears to have been from the North and a GE view of the terrain shows there were no good options at that altitude.



All the above based on my interpretation of information linked in the ASN report. https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/305342
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 15:35
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As the prop blade is bent forwards I would dispute that the engine was not running or it could not have been bent that way.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 18:19
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
My remarks : \
5) She should teach mountain flying : yes, but after following an instructor course and obtaining a mountain rating.
Hopefully she will read these basic premises before her next flight (we all should!) :
Minimum Knowledge for Mountain Flying
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 16:48
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The highest point in Florida is 345 feet above sea level, so they don’t practice much in the way of mountain flying. They may never even need to lean the mixture at higher altitude.

However, it is a relatively inexpensive place to fly since the weather is pretty nice year round due to warm weather, despite the occasional rain and hurricanes.

This does not mean that the woman didn’t have plenty of training and experience in Italy, especially as she’d flown this route several times before.

The comment in avionics’s post is correct. You should be at least 2,000 feet above a mountain pass at high altitude, as a strong downdraft can make that margin disappear quickly.

Flying at high altitudes is akin to being a glider pilot. You need to pay attention to which way the wind blows and where there will be downdrafts versus updrafts, and plan your path with this in mind.
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Old 4th Jan 2023, 04:42
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
As the prop blade is bent forwards I would dispute that the engine was not running or it could not have been bent that way.
I agree, the blade is bent forward, a classic sign of an engine under power, there is also about three inches or more of the blade missing as seen by the single white tip band as opposed to two on the other, unless it’s a strobing prop, so it probably hit a rock or similar under the snow and more or less stopped dead, as said, if it wasn’t running it would have bent back on impact when the nose gear collapsed.
Sliding backwards would not remove part of a blade and there is no signs of that movement in the snow, bearing in mind the dusting of fresh stuff on the aircraft.
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Old 4th Jan 2023, 08:05
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
so it probably hit a rock or similar under the snow and more or less stopped dead, as said
Sounds a bit like the irresistible force and the immovable object ...

It's very rare to see a photo of a prop on a running engine that has hit the ground and yet one or more blades has remained intact and undamaged (though no doubt some PPRuNer will find one!).
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Old 4th Jan 2023, 13:57
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It just depends on the initial strike and as you say an immovable object to stop the engine.

Yep I did, I found a couple

https://stewsaero.com/resurrecting-88m-our-cessna-182/

Suprised by this one considering the damage

https://www.globalparts.com/listings/details/159/

https://external-content.duckduckgo....2ce&ipo=images
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Old 4th Jan 2023, 14:38
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post

It's very rare to see a photo of a prop on a running engine that has hit the ground and yet one or more blades has remained intact and undamaged (though no doubt some PPRuNer will find one!).
I can picture that in an aircraft with little forward speed sinking onto deep snow and ice. If the descent was fast enough the first blare might be the only one to enounter the surface and stop the engine rapidly but progressively within less than half turn. That wouldn't provide the usual instant shattering impact on concrete that bends crankshafts.
Rather like the P51 that chewed on a Malibu's tail recently, little damage to the engine or prop as nothing very substantial was hit.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 11:20
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Originally Posted by visibility3miles View Post
T
The comment in avionics’s post is correct. You should be at least 2,000 feet above a mountain pass at high altitude, as a strong downdraft can make that margin disappear quickly.

Flying at high altitudes is akin to being a glider pilot. You need to pay attention to which way the wind blows and where there will be downdrafts versus updrafts, and plan your path with this in mind.
I cannot agree more. Archer with 3 POB at 9000ft is barely climbing. I fly at an airfield surrounded with 9500ft peaks for the last 30ish years and have plenty of hours in gliders mountain flying and have seen quite some scary moments. My "record" was approx. 3000ft altitude loss in less than a minute - hitting the wrong side of a tremendous rotor under an atmospheric wave, when trying to catch the upside of rotor to climb into the wave. No regular powered piston engine airplane can outclimb that.
Flying in the mountains requires specific knowledge, as there are significant vertical air movements present, limited options for outlanding, traps in the form of "one way street", and sudden local changes of weather, (cloud formation...) that can turn deadly.
In above case, I will risk a prediction that nothing significant was wrong with the engine, but airplane simply could not climb faster than terrain it was approaching and just ran out of air under the wings while attempting to fly thru a col - a giant Venturi tube. A colleague of mine did same thing a few years ago in the same type of airplane - with no survivors. He mostly flew in flat land.
When flying in the mountains, the first thing is to know very well what the wind is doing - not only general wind forecast, but keeping an eye on actual local winds aloft - they can differ significantly from general wind on top, as the air curls around peaks and ridges and turn along ridges, etc. It is a good practice to watch what water is doing when flowing over and between the rocks in a stream/river. I did this for hours on the nearby bridge. It gives you an idea where an updraft might be and which side of the valley to avoid. When it is windy, you often need to change a flight path laterally just for a few hundred meters and you will climb comfortably instead of hanging on all available power to maintain the altitude. Also, think of thermals - they can create tremendous uplifts, but quite often, there is similar downdraft nearby.
Flying thru a col/mountain pass is a special task of mountain flying: not much place to turn around, not exactly sure what is on the other side (you sure the area on the other side is not full of clouds?) and the worst is an invisible local headwind, that might become obvious only in the last seconds before the pass, as Venturi effect comes into working. When this happens, your ground speed decreases and surrounding air starts to settle and it is getting worse when you are getting closer, so crossing the col can become a very scary experience. Did that (too) many times, especially on competition flying, where competition fever might lower safety limits. (that was the reason I stopped flying glider competitions, as I did too many things that were obviously stupid - in the hindsight) Even some of the best pilots were caught in col crossings, like Klaus Holighaus - a world-class glider pilot that died when trying to cross another pass just a little too short and encountered downdraft of about 2m/sec in the last moments.
https://www.sust.admin.ch/inhalte/AV-berichte/1590.pdf Hope I will never run into such event - he was most respected pilot from all of us and yet...
My recipe for mountain pass / col crossing is NEVER reduce speed but instead INCREASE it significantly when aiming for a crossing (means you need sufficient altitude to come to the pass from above, not trying to trundle thru in a straight and level flight, or, God forbid, in a climb). Extra speed should provide energy to use if downdraft is encountered, allowing for U turn without (significant) loss of altitude and not relying on engine power- but must be executed before place (and options) becomes too narrow. If you cannot keep the col crossing on "glide path"+safety margin with this increased speed (and sink rate), do not go closer. Do practice (not too) sharp U turns, becouse if you try it first time when panic settles in, there is a good chance for pulling too much and with added turbulence, etc. AOA might go beyond critical and you will spin into the ground violently.
If you intend to fly in the mountains, I would suggest first take a flight with a twin seat glider on a reasonably windy day with experienced pilot, if there is an option for that - it will be an eye-opener.

Last edited by hoistop; 16th Jan 2023 at 12:53.
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Old 17th Jan 2023, 11:22
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Originally Posted by OvertHawk View Post
I'm reminded of the two kinds of superior pilot.

The one that uses superior skill to get out of trouble

And the one that uses superior judgment to avoid getting into trouble in the first place.
Had the same thought: the superior pilot uses their superior judgement so their superior flying skills are not needed. When I fly over mountains I plan to have lots of spare altitude in case something goes wrong; or I don't fly there. Suspect she'll adopt a similar approach from now on. Glad all are OK.
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