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Hawker Hunter Crash at Shoreham Airshow

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Hawker Hunter Crash at Shoreham Airshow

Old 26th Aug 2015, 17:48
  #441 (permalink)  
 
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No military experience, and no aeros worth talking about, but experience in the Shoreham area a long time ago, where the (very experienced, Ex RAF) CFI and CAA examiner spent some time briefing me in significant detail about the local issues on the 20 approach that could cause "brown trouser" moments in certain winds, and he was right to do so, over the following 6 months of twin training, I had several moments where his briefing meant I knew instantly what was happening, rather than having to try and work it out at a critical stage of the approach.

There is 700 Ft High ground to the north of Shoreham, and the valley of the River Adur cuts through it very close to the final approach segment of Runway 20. The result is that there can be very unpredictable wind changes in terms of both direction and speed during the base leg and final approach to 20, especially if you are flying a faster aircraft than others in the circuit, so have to position outside them in order to pass, so you're closer to the high ground than would be normal for the circuit.

In South West winds, it was common for a significant head wind component to suddenly and instantly become a strong cross wind in the middle of the turn from base to final, so if you were a bit slow, the consequences could be significant! It would have been rare to be using 20 in easterly winds, but the warning was that the high ground could and did cause down draughts and direct tail winds.

The flight on Saturday was descending through the area that is most noted for this, and with the wind being Easterly, there was the potential for both down draught and tailwind during the descent and exit from the loop, or clover, or whatever you want to call it, and in my albeit limited book, a downdraught and tail wind at that stage of the manoeuvre would not have been helpful, given all the other restrictions that are in place, like the TMA base.

I know what the effects of these winds were on a light twin, but I have no way of knowing how dramatic they might have been on an aircraft like the Hunter. Am I barking up the wrong tree? If my experience 20 odd years ago was anything to go by, I'm not, but I am open to any corrections or updates from those who do have specific experience of the type.

I'm asking this here, as I've tried discussing it in the R & N thread, and it's impossible to work in that thread any more as so many posts are being removed en masse, so the thread continuity is completely broken, my computer here keeps losing track of where it is in the thread.

Last edited by Irish Steve; 26th Aug 2015 at 17:50. Reason: typo
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 17:51
  #442 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BEags
Courtney Mil will probably remember the rusty old knobs and tits on the F-4 centre pedestal left over from mud-moving days, which we air defenders never used.
Ah, yes. Bored air defenders wanting to play nuclear bomber crews. I'll select Special Weapon on the centre pedestal, you make the consent switch in the back. Coming up to the target and pickle. Thump. What was that? I don't know, but the TK light's gone out.

If you tell a jet wired to be a nuclear bomber and tell it to drop the bomb, it will do the best it can throw away your centreline tank.

If you don't know what it is, don't with it.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 17:58
  #443 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not sure why we are spending so much time nit-picking the error of the F-16 pilot as it concerns the Shoreham accident.

Nevertheless, I think once the F-16 pilot had computed the gate height (or shall I say mis-computed it), he apparently flew the maneuver in accordance with the mis-computed value with the unfortunate, but non-fatal result.

I suppose it is worth discriminating between neglecting or over-looking or failing to comply with a gate height with failing to use the correct airfield elevation when computing the value. The lesson learned would be different.

For the Shoreham accident, we have absolutely no way to know - at this time - what the pilot intended, what error he might have made nor why. So, perhaps, nit-picking of the F-16 pilot's error has little value here.

As God saved the life of the F-16 pilot, may He also be merciful to the Hawker pilot. (or shall we debate that too?)
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 18:00
  #444 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, I saw the "flameout" article in the Mail too. Did it not occur to them that it doesn't even look like a flame and that it is clearly lens flare or a bug on the lens that doesn't appear in any other pictures or vids? Possibly the Mail has sunk to new depths.

I did leave a comment, but it do no good. Once the experts believe in something, they will not let go.

On a brighter note, their article about Hatcher's I'll-chosen words has received nothing short of a slamming from readers. Perhaps there is intelligent life out there after all.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 18:05
  #445 (permalink)  
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Irish Steve
I know what the effects of these winds were on a light twin, but I have no way of knowing how dramatic they might have been on an aircraft like the Hunter. Am I barking up the wrong tree?
The of effect of those winds on a Hunter flying at a display weight of around 18000 Lbs and between 300 and 420Kts would not be that noticeable in the context you have explained.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 18:59
  #446 (permalink)  
 
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If you don't know what it is, don't **** with it.
Sounds like a teenage lad's debrief after a furtive fumble at the back of the Odeon with his rather-more-knowledgeable girlfriend...

That 'flame out' is bolleaux - it's a seagull flying between the camera and the Hunter... You can see several in other videoclips.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 19:13
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Originally Posted by Above The Clouds View Post
The of effect of those winds on a Hunter flying at a display weight of around 18000 Lbs and between 300 and 420Kts would not be that noticeable in the context you have explained.

Thanks, that's useful, and I appreciate the response.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 19:21
  #448 (permalink)  
 
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The F16 incident has some relevance as the final outcome was similar though thankfully without fatalities of course in that case.

KenV you make much of it not being a "missed gate", but setting the wrong gate during planning by nearly 1000ft - by not correctly factoring in the altitude of the airport - is a pretty basic mistake, and of course would look like a hugely missed gate to those spectating. Those knowing the move would expect the aircraft to climb ~60% higher than it did, so easy to understand the initial conclusion they jumped to. A big error that you could debate whether should it not have passed the "does this feel right/too early?" gut feeling for a pilot that had done the move before.

The F-16 incident does show however why conclusions can't be jumped to for this recent incident. There could be various issues to consider that are not yet apparent.

I do come back to margins however, and wonder whether they should be forced to be much higher for such "high energy pointing at the ground" type moves.

That Daily Mail flame out story is incredible. Are they really that daft? Are there no photographers (or anyone with an ounce of technical knowledge) working for the Mail that could say "er, hang on a minute guys....". It seems not!
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 19:43
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KenV you make much of it not being a "missed gate", but setting the wrong gate during planning by nearly 1000ft - by not correctly factoring in the altitude of the airport - is a pretty basic mistake,
Actually, that is NOT what happened and is indeed "why conclusions can't be jumped to for this recent incident. There could be various issues to consider that are not yet apparent."

I do come back to margins however, and wonder whether they should be forced to be much higher for such "high energy pointing at the ground" type moves.
The Thunderbirds have increased the margin for this maneuver (but not all vertical maneuvers) by 1000 ft.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 19:44
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I'm not current on any type, and have no direct involvement in aviation activity, other than painting. But I do have 2500 hours on the Hunter, was a solo aeros display pilot, and a member of a four-ship Hunter formation team. I was also a BoI President involving two fatal RAF accidents, and staffed many others. Please PM me if you want an exchange of views on this tragic event.

Last edited by jindabyne; 26th Aug 2015 at 19:46. Reason: sp
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 20:53
  #451 (permalink)  
 
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Aborted barrel roll?

Quotes from RetiredF4:
"After looking at the published graphs with the probable flightpath on this thread and the ongoing discusssion I offer another version for discussion. I asked myself, what kind of maneuver would I do at that point, and came up with neither a loop nor a 1/4 Clover leaf, I would have done just a low pass along the line. But the task might have been not to cross the A27 at that low altitude, requiring a pullup followed by a descent and some small heading change. I would have done a Barrel Roll type maneuver there, but never a 1/4 Clover Leaf."
"In the assumed flightpath the Jet comes in low and fast, turns somewhat to the right and pulls up, like the initial part of a Barrel Roll to the left. At that point prior pullup the airfield might be hidden behind the tree line. For a Barrel Roll type positioning the turn to the pullup point was too late, which the pilot might have recognized during the pullup. In order to reduce the forward travel he took the maneuver higher and further off to the left and ended slow on top, way off the final course and unprepared for the following descent. The reorientation to the intended flightpath while still inverted lead to an unplanned and unsafe increase in descent rate."


Unlike you, I have no FJ or aeros experience. But, as no one else has commented on your hypothesis, I'll say in all humility that it makes sense to me.

Nobody here is claiming to know the pilot's game plan as he returned towards the airfield from the north-east. At that stage, we can probably assume that things were going okay. Equally, no one claims to know at what stage his plan started to unravel, or whether he ever intended to pull up to a vertical pitch as he rolled to the left.

We know that at some point he deviated from his planned manoeuvre, but neither when nor why this happened. It could have been right at the beginning.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 21:53
  #452 (permalink)  
 
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Dave: "anyone who really knows and understands WOULD NOT COMMENT."

I think you have correctly summarised why the media are putting such ill informed comments on the TV. They don't see e.g. the considered views of the miss demeanor hunter pilot as newsworthy - though this is a bit of a sad reflection on them as it is without doubt one on the most appropriate bits of commentary yet published.


KenV - without wanting to drift too much, I thought I read that assessing the gate with an erroneous height reference relative to the airfield was the fundamental cause of the F16 incident - do you have another view/insight?

I found this on the web; the contributory issues are notable of course.

According to the accident investigation board report the pilot, 31-year-old Captain Chris Stricklin, misinterpreted the altitude required to complete the "Split S" maneuver. He made his calculation based on an incorrect mean-sea-level altitude of the airfield. The pilot incorrectly climbed to 1,670 feet above ground level instead of 2,500 feet before initiating the pull down to the Split S maneuver.

When he realized something was wrong, the pilot put maximum back stick pressure and rolled slightly left to ensure the aircraft would impact away from the crowd should he have to eject. He ejected when the aircraft was 140 feet above ground - just 0.8 seconds prior to impact. He sustained only minor injuries from the ejection. There was no other damage to military or civilian property.

The aircraft, valued at about $20.4 million, was destroyed.

The difference in altitudes at Nellis and Mountain Home may have contributed to the pilot's error. The airfield at Nellis is at 2,000 feet whereas the one at Mountain Home is at 3,000 feet. It appears that the pilot reverted back to his Nellis habit pattern for a split second. Thunderbird commander Lt. Col. Richard McSpadden said Stricklin had performed the stunt around 200 times, at different altitudes during his year as a Thunderbird pilot.

McSpadden says Stricklin is an exceptional officer. "He is an extremely talented pilot. He came in here and made an honest mistake," says Lt. Col. McSpadden. But that mistake has cost Stricklin his prestigious spot on the Thunderbird team. "He's assigned to Washington D.C.," says McSpadden. "He's working in the Pentagon there in one of the agencies."

The maneuver the pilot was trying to complete is called the "Split S Maneuver." The stunt requires that the pilot climb to 2,500 feet. Investigators say Stricklin only climbed to 1,670 feet before he went into the spinning roll.

The board determined other factors substantially contributed to creating the opportunity for the error including the requirement to convert sea level altitude information from the F-16 instruments - to their altitude above ground and call out that information to a safety operator below.

But the Air Force has now changed that as a result of the crash. Thunderbird pilots will now call out the MSL (mean-sea-level) altitudes as opposed to the AGL (above-ground-level) altitudes.

Thunderbird pilots will now also climb an extra 1000 feet before performing the Split S Maneuver to prevent another mistake like the one on Sep.14, 2003 from happening again.
For the avoidance of doubt, the causes of the F16 incident may have no relevance whatsoever to Shoreham of course.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 22:07
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Originally Posted by Chesty Morgan View Post
Not sure if it's been posted yet but new video clip showing a "flameout".

Shoreham air show video shows Hawker Hunter jet before A27 crash | Daily Mail Online

I'm not convinced.
No-one seems to notice that the engine noise continues unchanged throughout the 'flame out'.

Julian Bray's comments seem surprising, but perhaps not.

Last edited by Davef68; 26th Aug 2015 at 22:59.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 22:24
  #454 (permalink)  
 
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Hawker Hunter Loss at Shoreham Airshow

Can I remind all the 'P'rofessional 'P'ilots on this 'RU'mour 'N'etwork that the whole world can see what you're saying and that (to the best of my professional observation) everything you are saying is purely conjecture.
Please show respect to our fallen colleague and the innocent victims that were caught up in this awful tragedy and maybe wait until at least a preliminary investigation is published by the AAIB before you cast another personal opinion.
Think what your family would feel if they read about your potential accident on a public Aviation Forum.
Just saying.
Pabs.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 23:01
  #455 (permalink)  
 
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out of curiosity

JFZ90..just out of curiosity,do you know who is responsible for that "article" you found on the Web?
Fine offer Jindy, but you'll have scared them off now.
(Military navigator, minimal hours on the 2 seater Hunter, zilch aeros experience, but do know the significent difference twixt height and altitude and am still working out "altitude above ground level")
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 23:10
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Exactly JFZ90. Indeed, if you read Jonathan Whaley's excellent FB post carefully, you'll see he expressly and explicitly states that he has no intention of commenting on the accident, which is exactly what any real expert would do. There's probably an Inverse Law of Compliance somewhere that states that the more vehemently an 'expert' states an opinion, the more that opinion should be treated with the utmost contempt and disdain. The inherent proof of this Inverse Law of Compliance can be seen whenever the BBC and ITN trot out the Brays and Sharps of this world.
Anyone with any real experience or expertise will know one thing - that they don't know enough to comment.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 23:11
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ROG

It was just from a quick google and some sort of web article of unknown provenance. It seemed to quote the board report, so assumed it was trying to summarise the 'official' outcome, though I know nothing of the F16 incident and can't vouch for the web source.
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Old 26th Aug 2015, 23:22
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Thanks JFZ90. It was the reference to "stunt" and the confusion with "altitude" which suggests to me it was not written by an aviation person.
Matters not as it has no bearing on this tragic accident.
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 00:37
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Pabs... *sigh* not everything on here is conjecture and the AAIB do not have a monopoly on the experience used to determine the cause(s) of accidents. The video reveals a number of facts, not least that the Hunter ran out of height and struck the ground. Working backwards, objectively, reveals a great deal. Deduction is a science.

I just don't think that we are entitled to be quite as guarded with information as we are generally inclined to be - this event is tragically unusual and it is not just one of our own who has suffered appallingly as a result. That said, the admittedly rife speculation by the uninformed is unhelpful - and I also agree that the public/press will be unable to differentiate between the two. The latest 'flameout' tripe is case in point - and for the public/press that are reading these posts, if the engine flamed out in the position illustrated then a pilot - any pilot qualified to be flying an aeroplane of this class - would spot-roll out and position for a forced landing or a controlled ejection, NOT commit to a nose-low pull-through.

So for the BBC, et al, please stop quoting idiots with zero relevant experience - you are, by association, making yourselves look like idiots...

Last edited by Captain Kirk; 27th Aug 2015 at 11:09.
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 06:18
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Courtney Mil

There is a hint of what may be wing rock shortly before impact.

--------------------------

I took this and it rather confirms your comment

Still trying to beat the upload issues so link only for now

http://1drv.ms/1hgDUWG

Last edited by Reheat On; 27th Aug 2015 at 06:26. Reason: photo
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