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Question: Pilots in Crashing Aircraft Avoiding People on the Ground

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Question: Pilots in Crashing Aircraft Avoiding People on the Ground

Old 23rd Feb 2019, 14:49
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Interesting thread.

The following crew appear to have the wherewithal to point their stricken aircraft at a patch of green before ejecting, although it's not clear from the garbled audio if they actually discussed this beforehand.

​​​​​​

Amusing that the controller is a little late requesting the crew to confirm their intentions...
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Old 23rd Feb 2019, 15:32
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Originally Posted by sharpend View Post
Well I think I am qualified to reply as I was that pilot who avoided the old folks home whilst wrestling with the controls of a stricken jet. At least that is what was said. My citation in The London Gazette states: 'he resolved to delay such action (ejection) until clear of the ...suburbs' . Personally. I cannot really recall what was going thro my mind other than I had to get on the ground before I bled to death. Like most in this drastic situation one is dealing frantically with the emergency and not thinking too much about the old peoples home, even if you know that one was close. Actually, often after ejection, the aeroplane changes course set by the pilot and crashed where he least expected it to
But your press statement all those years ago stated you couldn’t see a thing for a while, so how did you see the “old folks home” to avoid it?

'All I was aware of was a great thump in the face, a tremendous noise and I was completely blind,' Sharp said Wednesday in the first public statement on the incident that occurred two weeks ago in the skies over southern England.

'I wanted to open my eyes but I couldn't open the left one at all. My right eye was full of blood.

'I couldn't speak to the navigator at first, but I was able to see the instruments, a bit blurred,' said the 37-year-old pilot, who flies from the Royal Air Force Chivenor base in Devon.

With the inch-thick windshield shattered 'my cockpit was the noisiest place in the world,' he said. 'It was three times the force of a hurricane, we were doing 500 mph.'

Because of the noise, Sharp said he was unable to communicate with ground control but eventually was able to see the ground and make a landing.

'We survived thanks to instinct, adrenalin, experience and a hell of a lot of luck,' he said.
Or was it Lester, your Nav, that called it out so you could avoid it?
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Old 23rd Feb 2019, 16:03
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dead_pan,
That clips actually from a Hawk in Canada I believe.
There's clips on YouTube showing their very undramatic recovery.
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Old 23rd Feb 2019, 16:14
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Tash - funny I did wonder about the clipped English male voice used in one of the cockpit warnings. The F-16 gal sounds much sexier. Can't trust anything you see on the Internet....
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Old 23rd Feb 2019, 17:57
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To answer the OP:
In a single engine aircraft where one has lost the engine, rather than in an out of control flight situation, or when one is on fire, you will find in some training manuals a step in your emergecy procedure to 'head toward an unpopulated area' - I taught Navy flight students in the T-34C in the 80's and 00's. That specific consideration was part of the training. (Yes, it was near the end of the procedure)
It was also a subject of ready room discussions in other single engine aircraft and helicopters that I flew.
How well one is able to put that thought into action on a given day when things go pear shaped will depend heavily on the situation.

In a nutshell:
it is part of the training to try and point away from where people are, but one is not always able to control that element depending on the nature of the problem one is trying to deal with (as noted by a few of the old hands who have already posted).
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Old 23rd Feb 2019, 18:56
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I certainly know of one fine Naval aviator who left it very late to use the alternate let-down facility in a Hunter. When I remonstrated with him in hospital, he stated that when the donk ran down halfway around finals, he rolled wings level and found he was pointing at the married patch and infants school - so he turned further left and was about to bang out when he realised that the ****ester by-pass was jammed with summer traffic. So he squeaked it over the road and jumped, hitting the ground with a partially inflated 'chute, whilst the jet bounced across the bows of a bus full of pongoes on the Som***** road and buried itself in a midden.

Some guys actually do it!!

Mog
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Old 23rd Feb 2019, 20:58
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Originally Posted by The B Word View Post

But your press statement all those years ago stated you couldn’t see a thing for a while, so how did you see the “old folks home” to avoid it?

Or was it Lester, your Nav, that called it out so you could avoid it?
Absolutely correct. I was totally blind for some time and then managed to get a little blurred vision in my right eye. However, if you read my comment again you will note that I had absolutely no idea of what was around me and totally no interest other than to put the jet on the ground before I ran out of blood. Farmhouses, old folks homes or schools were furthest from my mind. Quote: 'Personally. I cannot really recall what was going thro my mind other than I had to get on the ground before I bled to death. Like most in this drastic situation one is dealing frantically with the emergency and not thinking too much about the old peoples home, even if you know that one was close'. So basically, in answer to the original question, a pilot invariable (but perhaps not always) looks after himself, his crew and the aeroplane and trusts that those on the ground are not involved.
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Old 23rd Feb 2019, 21:43
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It's worth noting that, if ejecting or bailing out is not an option, putting the aircraft down where it'll minimize casualties on the ground is usually consistent with putting it down where it'll minimize casualties in the aircraft - it's often not an either/or. Sully comes to mind...
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Old 23rd Feb 2019, 23:40
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SIDENOTE from memory

In 1952-53 an F-100 was northjound from castle airbase to sacramento area ( california ) flying along the foothills of the western slope of the Sierras. Altitude probably 10000 to 20000 feet. Controls locked up, plane was pointed north to a remotely populated area. Pilot shut engine - ejected near- above Sonora. Pilot landed near Keystone ( a few miles west of Sonora )
Plan turned west, glided roughly along Stanislaus river and sort of circled Oakdale. came down in a 15 to 20 acre field on west side of town pointed east - but engine continued into housing area, bounced into a garage ! No one hurt !
But part of landing gear hit a house in which a just retired postman was in the kitchen- hit him such that he later died. ! The only severe injury result.

Anyone care to figure the odds. ?
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 01:07
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Remember the wayward Mig 23 that the pilot departed from in Poland that made it to Belgium before tragically killing an 18 year old at home on the farm.

https://theaviationist.com/2012/10/03/mig23-belgium/
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 01:10
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remember this one?

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/his...tly-field.html
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 01:57
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NutLoose, I don't remember any details - such as where or when or why they bailed, but supposedly there was a similar event with a DC-3/C-47 - the crew bailed out but the aircraft continued on until it soft landed unharmed many miles away.
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 03:24
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There was an article in flypast ages ago about Hamilcar? gliders and they were sending them off training so they were towed up by a tug, released and landed back on the airfield, they were very busy and one they hooked up spiralled down and landed on, when no crew were seen to get out some bods were dispatched to see if they were ok...... it was empty, in the rush to get them off they had hooked up an empty glider that did the sortie on its own.
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 03:29
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http://www.91stbombgroup.com/91st_ta...ghost_ship.pdf
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 06:18
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I seem to recall that the KLM pilot rotated early at Tenerife in an attempt to 'jump' over the PA 747 but didn't have the speed to climb. If that was the case, then would that constitute a conscious avoidance???
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 10:13
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Crashing Aircraft Avoiding People on Ground

I totally agree. If a B17 were about to crash the crew certainly wouldn’t be aware of people in their way until it was within a few hundred metres of them at best. Have any of the readers noticed people near the approach when they have been landing without a major emergency in progress? Pilot’s about to crash avoiding schools is another fact which I have always thought suspect too.
Anyway good luck to the old gentleman who has kept the crew’s memory alive for all these years. Their contribution to the conflict should never be forgotten.
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 11:28
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Wasn't there a Bucc up in Scotland overran the runway, when he saw spotters on the fence line he whipped the gear up to stop it.
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 16:13
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Even the best pilot cannot control a falling brick ... In 1972 my friend Giles was testing a Bucc following overhaul at RNAY Sydenham when it flamed out on downwind leg. Ricky the nav banged-out and landed on a busy Belfast thoroughfare in front of a Morris Minor whose elderly driver was taken to hospital with shock. Giles stayed in the aircraft, aiming for Orangefield Park about a mile further on but ejected when the Bucc's nose pitched upwards and all control was lost. His chute deployed just in time to land him on a sloping roof, whence he slid off to land on his elbow three stories below. A couple of seconds later the Bucc dropped vertically to demolish the front wall of an office block 200 yards further on, its fuselage replacing the wall just eight feet in front of the shocked owner's desk. Fortunately there was no fire because there was no fuel.
Today the Bucc's refuelling probe has place of honour in the office reception area, but Giles' injury ended his flying career.

However, I saw the 'hero pilot' line deployed in 1954 when a Meteor T7 canopy opened on finals for Leuchars and the aircraft spun vertically into a field just across the road from Leuchars mainline station, where the St Andrews train was about to depart. The Daily Mail etc made much of the pilot's bravery in avoiding the station but of course the poor chap had no chance of recovery.
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 18:37
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Tornado Crash at Abingdon

I remember this one going overhead, sounded awful having ingested a lot of birds. I'll never forget the sound. The aircraft flew over a housing estate, not much choice on that so far as I recall, the pilot aimed for a field beyond, the crew ejected at an unhealthily low altitude. The aircraft came down in the field, having missed all the houses, skided across a busy road missing everything and came to rest in another field. Crewmen started directing traffic around the debris.

I can tell you the feelings in the town were universally positive about RAF pilot's abilities when things go wrong and options get thin. Not many yards either way could have wiped out quite a few homes, at tea time.

Last edited by msbbarratt; 24th Feb 2019 at 19:30.
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 18:46
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Wasn't there a Bucc up in Scotland overran the runway, when he saw spotters on the fence line he whipped the gear up to stop it.
I've not worked on Buccs but wouldn't the WoW switch prevent retraction on the ground?
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