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Sopwith Triplane mishap at Old Warden today

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Sopwith Triplane mishap at Old Warden today

Old 29th Jun 2014, 20:59
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Sopwith Triplane mishap at Old Warden today

At the end of its display the Shuttleworth Trust's Sopwith Triplane undercarriage clipped a fence and the aircraft ended up on its nose. The pilot was physically unhurt (but probably p***** off). The wind had veered round during the display and so the approach was sideslipping from the right of the landing strip.

The first image is a few seconds after the event. The second about 45 minutes later.


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Old 29th Jun 2014, 21:28
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Sopwith Triplane mishap at Old Warden today

...any landing you can walk away from...
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 00:04
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Sopwith Triplane Crash Video

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Old 30th Jun 2014, 07:05
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Shame. Looks to me like it hit a steel gate rather than a fence. Glad the pilot was alright.
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 07:11
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Looks like the left wheel caught that wooden fence post to me. Very sad but the main thing is the pilot's unscathed...
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 09:31
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Seemed to appear to strike the fence.

Out of curiosity what were the "Old Bill" doing on the scene, breathalysing the pilot or doing something useful?
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 10:56
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What it hit.

My only qualification here is to have been involved in fencing in rural Australia in my youth. What the Triplane hits is a gate post, and these are substantial and very firmly rooted in the ground. Designed to stand up to persistent leaning and shoving by cattle, they will easily win in any conflict with WW I aeroplanes; steel might have bent.

(Actually, I was involved in putting in a fence around a pistol range on a disused landfill tip. The power auger drilling holes for strainers and fence posts a couple of times broke through into an abandoned fridge.)

Very glad the pilot was OK.
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 13:15
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Any aircraft crash site immediately becomes a crime scene. So therefore the civil police have to be involved from the outset. This incidentally also includes military aircraft. Once the police are satisfied that no 'crime' was committed, the incident is then handed over to the AAIB for their investigation.
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 15:20
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Looks like he was a little low so he to went to add power and all that happened was a load of smoke from the engine??
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 18:43
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Not low, just off to one side of the landing strip. Those fences run parallel to the strip. A pity he hit one of the more sustantial posts but good news that nobody was hurt. We won't be seeing that bird in the sky for some time to come, great shame....
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 19:15
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Excellent news that the pilot was unharmed. I liked the very British understatement of the PA announcer on the film clip when the aircraft tipped onto its nose, a simple 'Oh dear'. I can think of a few other countries where there would have been much shrieking and babbling. Top marks that man

He also seems to come from glass is nearly full school of optimism as he can be clearly heard telling the public that the aircraft will be 'back in the air in no short time I imagine'. I'd be very interested to know what the estimated time will be for repairs to airborne
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Old 1st Jul 2014, 07:18
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Nothing to do with piloting skills. Smoke can be seen from engine prior to mishap:ASN Aircraft incident 29-JUN-2014 Sopwith Triplane Replica G-BOCK
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Old 1st Jul 2014, 08:01
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That's it, then, no need for the AAIB............thanks SS...
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Old 1st Jul 2014, 08:09
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He talks about the problems landing with rotary engines here (and how to control them in part 1):

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Old 1st Jul 2014, 10:28
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" Forgive my sarcasm (or not, as you wish) but smoke and clearly heard exhaust noise suggests to me the the engine was working just fine. It certainly looks and sounds exactly as it should from that video".

I do have a basic idea how rotary engines work. I'm just gullible, the article suggested the smoke was abnormal, so I just accepted that.
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Old 1st Jul 2014, 10:55
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Are you familiar with the operation of rotary engines?
I have absolutely no knowledge of the operation of rotary engines so hopefully you can educate me?

In the clip by Background Noise, Dodge Bailey says that the fuel is completely cut during the approach and the fuel cock is only turned on again when "crossing the fence". Could you please tell me why this has to happen? Is it not possible to idle a rotary? In the crash video, does the smoke appear when the fuel is re-introduced to the engine? What does he mean by "hold it off on the blip switch"?

Sorry for all the questions but am just interested. Will be visiting Old Warden in the next few weeks.
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Old 1st Jul 2014, 11:25
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Its very unlikely that the AAIB would investigate an incident such as this. The majority of their reports each month are based on information submitted by the pilot. They would only usually investigate if someone dies or its a public transport type of aircraft.
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Old 1st Jul 2014, 12:33
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a rotary engine has no throttle and only one magneto.

you can control the engine speed by "blipping" the magneto, that is switching it off for periods then on again.

the engine slows while the magneto is off and surges back to full rpm if the magneto is left on and firing.

you don't realise just how much of an advance the modern aero engine is until you've seen a rotary engine in operation.
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Old 1st Jul 2014, 12:47
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Thanks W8. Very interesting.
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Old 1st Jul 2014, 15:05
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Its very unlikely that the AAIB would investigate an incident such as this.
It fits the criteria of a Reportable Accident, therefore the AAIB will open a file on it, and their summary of the details of the event will appear in due course in a forthcoming issue of the monthly bulletin.

What they are very unlikely to do is to conduct a field investigation with all that that entails.
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