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Canadian Forces Snowbirds CT-114 down in British Columbia

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Canadian Forces Snowbirds CT-114 down in British Columbia

Old 23rd May 2020, 17:21
  #181 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Canada
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Originally Posted by Mozella View Post
Most of my military flying was done in M.B. seats. I've never ejected but plenty of my squadron mates have. In one case a gent who's J-57 was shooting craps in the landing pattern, tried both the primary and secondary ejection handles (face curtain and between the knees handle) but was unable to initiate the ejection sequence; the handles simply wouldn't move. So, after running out of ideas, he went back to flying the aircraft and the old P&W engine kept on chugging long enough to get him on the ground without further drama. Turns out the Martin Baker seat wasn't properly maintained and the forces required to pull the handle(s) were way out of spec. Other aviators have reported difficulty with the Martin Baker ejection handles and a common complaint is that the force required was higher than expected.

After looking at the video it appears that the Snowbird pilot made the decision to zoom and eject for whatever reason. It would seem natural to want to maximize the altitude based on the rather limited capability of the Weber seat. A the top of his climb he stopped flying the Tutor and started the ejection sequence. I'm wondering if, for some reason he (like my squadron mate) could have had some difficulty with the ejection. A delay of only a few seconds concentrating on the ejection with nobody flying the airplane could easily result in a stall/spin situation especially after using up every bit of the available kinetic energy in the zoom climb.

By the time he managed to eject, even though the delay was short, it was too late. This is pure speculation of course, but it makes a lot more sense to me than stories about avoiding populated areas, doing low speed barrel rolls to "show off" and some of the other guesses about the timing of the ejection.

I'm not familiar with the Weber seat, so perhaps some Tutor pilot might chime in with any sea-stories about how difficult it might be to pull the handle(s) and/or if anyone has reported unusual effort required to fire the seat or other factors which might cause a two or three second delay in ejecting after the decision to take the nylon let-down has been made.
Great post and a plausible scenario.

Re your last sentence, yes. About 6 months ago, a Tutor preparing for an air show in Atlanta lost power and the pilot ejected. He was ok, but he reported "...problems in the ejection sequence".

https://www.skiesmag.com/news/initia...atlanta-crash/
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Old 23rd May 2020, 17:35
  #182 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post
No CVR or FDR in the Tutor
A long shot but in the pictures posted above there is a mount that appears to be for a camera or tablet:



In the takeoff picture it looks like a tablet is attached.



There might be some recoverable data from the memory. Data has been pulled from these memory chips even in very high energy crashes like the Galloping Ghost at Reno in 2011.

Probably nothing of value but I'm sure it will be looked at if the pieces are recovered.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 19:15
  #183 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Mozella View Post

After looking at the video it appears that the Snowbird pilot made the decision to zoom and eject for whatever reason. It would seem natural to want to maximize the altitude based on the rather limited capability of the Weber
I disagree. If his plan was to zoom climb and then eject he would NOT have rolled towards 80 degrees of bank at the apex of his climb. He would have ejected wings level in a climb. My real world experience as a QFI, clearly tells me he was trying a turnback to the airfield/runway of departure, pulled too hard at low IAS and stalled and spun. Its all very clearly there on the video, or I would not comment or speculate..

If the Weber seat is 0/60 its a very capable seat and an ejection during a zoom climb is clearly within its performance envelope..

A low level ejection with a high ROD was clearly not possible, as is the case with many seats.

Again, from experience, I can tell you when its time to pull the handle you pull it with all your strength, hard !

Last edited by RetiredBA/BY; 23rd May 2020 at 19:29.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 19:46
  #184 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post
I disagree. If his plan was to zoom climb and then eject he would NOT have rolled towards 80 degrees of bank at the apex of his climb. He would have ejected wings level in a climb. My real world experience as a QFI, clearly tells me he was trying a turnback to the airfield/runway of departure, pulled too hard at low IAS and stalled and spun. Its all very clearly there on the video, or I would not comment or speculate..

If the Weber seat is 0/60 its a very capable seat and an ejection during a zoom climb is clearly within its performance envelope..

A low level ejection with a high ROD was clearly not possible, as is the case with many seats.

Again, from experience, I can tell you when its time to pull the handle you pull it with all your strength, hard !
Wow dude, You would think someone with your experience would avoid making such a massive assumption/generalization. Facts first my friend. I did a tour instructing on Tutors and turnbacks were not taught nor were they encouraged while I was there, neither were they taught on 2 other aircraft types I was a QFI on in the RCAF. I personally never planned on turning back to a reciprocal while I was flying those jets and I was fortunate to never have been in that position. I dont know what the Snowbird trg syllabus is. I'm not convinced he was turning back and personally I would prefer he get to tell his story to the investigators vice everyone engaging in speculation. I've been involved in enough accident investigations on fighters and trainers over the year to know that even when things are on tape, the reality can be very different than what it appears to be. There have been cases in the CT114 where pilots have lost control because of seat/strap issues in the past. So yeah, there is some stuff on tape but we really don't know what was going on in that cockpit. Various people have put out various theories that may or may not be true. The only thing I am willing to say for sure is that with the amount of time these team members spend in the low level environment, there is really no good reason for them not to have a better seat. We are talking about an escape system where you are out of the envelope in the final turn and in my mind, considering the results of many CT114 ejections, it really is a shame to watch someone else die because of it.

Last edited by monkey416; 23rd May 2020 at 20:40.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 19:52
  #185 (permalink)  
 
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Salute!

Thank you, Retired.....

Maybe best post so far, and we don't even know if the pilot pulled up after an engine problem or bird strike or whatever. He just did.

All we know is what we have seen on the various videos - fairly aggresive climb after a nice formation takeoff, then turn, then what looks like stall/roll/spin entry, then roll wings level and punch out very low. RIP.
========================

For all you wannabes and nuggets just entering the game.......

When things go south, you react as you have been trained or practiced in your brain a hundred times.

THIS IS IMPORTANT!! So sitting in the barber shop and even while in the chair you should be rehearsing all the "what if's". When that day/split second comes you have a better chance of survival than the folks that never thought it could happen to them. You will go thru the drill without a millisecond of hesitation. After all, you have done it a hundred times in the barber shop!

All the bad things youi may encounter do not required superhuman reactions and such, and one thing that served me and many of my fellow "light" pilots well, was - If the damned plane is still flying and ain't rolling at 200 degrees per second or flipping end over end, take one more second, maybe two and try to figure out what went wrong and if there's a way to correct for the problem or make the best of a bad situation. The heavy pilots have to do this. We lights do not, and we can ask Weber or Douglas or Martin Baker for help.

Gums sends....
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Old 23rd May 2020, 20:18
  #186 (permalink)  
 
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With respect to the safe ejection envelope, it is worth
remembering that the minimum height fo a safe ejection is increased by a nose down pitch attitude (and bank angle) as well as rate of descent. The pitch attitude will certainly have been a factor here.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 21:05
  #187 (permalink)  
 
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Does anyone have a link to the original video which gives a "new video angle" seen in the video in post #145, the CBC "Key moments in the Snowbirds crash" video with a former Snowbirds pilot commenting?

The video is a good example of how the angle of view changes the perception of an object's angle -- That is, the ejection was not nearly as vertical as it seemed to many of us from the most commonly seen videos. The new video shows that while there was a considerable dive, which was bad for trying to be in the ejection envelope it wasn't close to a vertical dive with flight speed in knots = descent rate.

I took some caps from the video and cropped each using just the bottom 640*480 part of the video. Since the cloud base and sometimes ground can be seen, one can see that the camera is fairly level.

Video caps are roughly at the time of :
1. Canopy blowing off
2. First ejection rocket seen
3. Second ejection rocket seen
4. Some time later
(And the video cuts before anything hits the ground)

While talking about this video making the angles LESS steep than other videos appear, it is also true that despite the video viewpoint being more "beside the action", by looking upwards somewhat from the horizon that makes the visual angle of descent less than the actual angle. So one can't just put a protractor to the screen and say these shallower angles are the true ones either.

Still, look at those smoke trails ... they were NOT anywhere near a vertical dive. Which to me makes the problem of not getting a full canopy before running out of sky, more frustrating.

As for the issue of "Why turn left (towards the city) instead of heading straight (river area)?", as usual we don't know all the factors involved. But it certainly could have been things like (a) being on the left side of the formation to start with! -- Pull away from the other aircraft, or (b) initially thinking it was only a partial engine failure and instinctively trying to take up around into a circuit.








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Old 23rd May 2020, 21:56
  #188 (permalink)  
 
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Although the descent angle wasn't nearly as vertical as it seemed to people, based on some of the comments, in this post I'd like to address that the timing of the ejection sequence.
The time from ejection to impact, was fairly short ... but was still between 3.7 and 4.3 seconds between canopy starting to depart and the ejectees disappearing behind the tree line.

I ran the most common original video through the Vegas video editor to zoom and add timestamps.
(The Shannon Forest video from twitter, where at the end the camera pans down, man says "It just crashed", boy says "Oh my god.")

One can't tell when handles were first pulled, so one has to go with the first visible signs of ejection, the canopy starting to depart the aircraft.
That's my zero point. Then:
- First ejection noticed (smoke first seen) 0.67 seconds
- Second ejection noticed (smoke first seen) 1.03 seconds (which is 0.37 sec later)
- First object disappearing behind tree line 3.70 seconds (2.66 sec after their ejection first seen)
(This is the SECOND, lower ejection, with no visible chute at long distance in the video)
- Second object disappearing behind the tree line 4.30 seconds (3.63 sec after their ejection first seen)
(Actually, not the person but the starting-to-inflate canopy behind that FIRST ejectee, which disappears behind the treeline just as it goes out of frame on the video too. Presumably the survivor.)

Of course the visible tree line isn't quite at ground level but close enough for this analysis.

So the first ejectee had the benefit of a bit over a third of a second earlier ejection, thus a bit of extra altitude, plus the aircraft pitched down fairly rapidly between the two ejections. That gave the first ejectee basically one extra second air time, which helped at least give them a partially inflated canopy.

The Tutor doesn't have command ejection?? (pilot pulls, both seats are fired in some predetermined sequence) I guess not but I don't think anyone with experience has clarified that issue.
Assuming not, being the second to pull the handle after the aircraft commander, just about a third of a second later, is actually pretty good performance, but the conditions were unfortunately too marginal for it to work out here.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 22:39
  #189 (permalink)  
 
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Re the ejection sequence as viewed on this clip (and further to my earlierq regarding sequence timings) seat separation should commence c.1 second after initiation according to the following source:

Weber CL-41 seat with AERO Drogue System
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Old 24th May 2020, 04:30
  #190 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by pchapman View Post
Although the descent angle wasn't nearly as vertical as it seemed to people, based on some of the comments, in this post I'd like to address that the timing of the ejection sequence.
The time from ejection to impact, was fairly short ... but was still between 3.7 and 4.3 seconds between canopy starting to depart and the ejectees disappearing behind the tree line.

I ran the most common original video through the Vegas video editor to zoom and add timestamps.
(The Shannon Forest video from twitter, where at the end the camera pans down, man says "It just crashed", boy says "Oh my god.")

One can't tell when handles were first pulled, so one has to go with the first visible signs of ejection, the canopy starting to depart the aircraft.
That's my zero point. Then:
- First ejection noticed (smoke first seen) 0.67 seconds
- Second ejection noticed (smoke first seen) 1.03 seconds (which is 0.37 sec later)
- First object disappearing behind tree line 3.70 seconds (2.66 sec after their ejection first seen)
(This is the SECOND, lower ejection, with no visible chute at long distance in the video)
- Second object disappearing behind the tree line 4.30 seconds (3.63 sec after their ejection first seen)
(Actually, not the person but the starting-to-inflate canopy behind that FIRST ejectee, which disappears behind the treeline just as it goes out of frame on the video too. Presumably the survivor.)

Of course the visible tree line isn't quite at ground level but close enough for this analysis.

So the first ejectee had the benefit of a bit over a third of a second earlier ejection, thus a bit of extra altitude, plus the aircraft pitched down fairly rapidly between the two ejections. That gave the first ejectee basically one extra second air time, which helped at least give them a partially inflated canopy.

The Tutor doesn't have command ejection?? (pilot pulls, both seats are fired in some predetermined sequence) I guess not but I don't think anyone with experience has clarified that issue.
Assuming not, being the second to pull the handle after the aircraft commander, just about a third of a second later, is actually pretty good performance, but the conditions were unfortunately too marginal for it to work out here.
No command ejection. Completely manual.
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Old 24th May 2020, 06:36
  #191 (permalink)  
 
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Just an observation. The initial left turn starts as the aircraft moves up and out of formation - it looks like an instinctive easing wide to avoid the lead once sight of him is lost. The reasoning why that turn was tightened shortly thereafter could be turn back, unintentional following ejection seat issues or trying to point in a safer direction to eject having made the initial turn towards the town.
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Old 24th May 2020, 07:11
  #192 (permalink)  
 
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A long shot but in the pictures posted above there is a mount that appears to be for a camera or tablet:
That's an aviation approved 'Pivot' mount for a tablet being used for navigation and documentation. I think it's unlikely it was being used for recording.
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Old 24th May 2020, 07:19
  #193 (permalink)  
 
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The success or otherwise of an ejection is hugely affected by the upward or downward vector of the aircraft as the seat leaves the airframe. I spent all my flying career on ejection seats, both rocket zero/zero seats and non-rocket seats with height and/or speed limits. Hopefully, I was always aware of those limits, particularly in one early jet aircraft where there was a gap between lift off speed and a safe ejection speed/height.

After hanging up my flying gloves, I became a ground school instructor, part of which was teaching ab-initio students about the seat they were going to use. I used a clip from a USAF training film showing the crew leaving an F4 as the aircraft pitched up uncontrollably after liftoff. One occupant went out as the aircraft still had an upward vector, the second went out higher but the aircraft had stopped climbing, the chute of the first ejectee opened at a greater height, despite ejecting at a lower height.
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Old 24th May 2020, 08:13
  #194 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DCThumb View Post
Just an observation. The initial left turn starts as the aircraft moves up and out of formation - it looks like an instinctive easing wide to avoid the lead once sight of him is lost. The reasoning why that turn was tightened shortly thereafter could be turn back, unintentional following ejection seat issues or trying to point in a safer direction to eject having made the initial turn towards the town.
yeah there are some things going on there that I just cannot make sense of. i bet it will be a really interesting case once the investigation is done; pilot is out of hospital now so im sure hes had his chance to say his piece to the flight safety guys etc. could be so many factors including the terrain, river etc. Not a great airfield to experience a problem like that. Had it been me I would have had serious concerns about ending up ejecting into the thompson river at this time of year and theres also terrain on both sides of departure end. thinking back about other tutor accidents over the years its almost pointless to speculate as there have been so may freak occurrences over the years. only thing for sure is that this will undoubtedly be an interesting case study as things move forward.
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Old 24th May 2020, 09:29
  #195 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by monkey416 View Post
Wow dude, You would think someone with your experience would avoid making such a massive assumption/generalization. Facts first my friend. I did a tour instructing on Tutors and turnbacks were not taught nor were they encouraged while I was there, neither were they taught on 2 other aircraft types I was a QFI on in the RCAF. I personally never planned on turning back to a reciprocal while I was flying those jets and I was fortunate to never have been in that position. I dont know what the Snowbird trg syllabus is. I'm not convinced he was turning back and personally I would prefer he get to tell his story to the investigators vice everyone engaging in speculation. I've been involved in enough accident investigations on fighters and trainers over the year to know that even when things are on tape, the reality can be very different than what it appears to be. There have been cases in the CT114 where pilots have lost control because of seat/strap issues in the past. So yeah, there is some stuff on tape but we really don't know what was going on in that cockpit. Various people have put out various theories that may or may not be true. The only thing I am willing to say for sure is that with the amount of time these team members spend in the low level environment, there is really no good reason for them not to have a better seat. We are talking about an escape system where you are out of the envelope in the final turn and in my mind, considering the results of many CT114 ejections, it really is a shame to watch someone else die because of it.
OK, so we disagree. I was taught low level turnbacks a student on the JP way back in 62/63, so I know the procedure, but we did not teach or practice them in my time as a QFI.

So. I stand by my comments based on A my experience on a similar jet and B, the fact that the whole flight is clearly seen on the video. The video SHOWS him turning back, otherwise why turn TOWARDS rising terrain which would effectively reduce his ejection height. If not a turnback, what was it?

Its a long time since I flew and instructed on the 737. On that jet , on certain runways , there
was an emergency turn procedure, which, in the event of engine failure on take off above V1 the turn took one AWAY from terrain, so that terrain clearance was assured despite the reduced climb gradient.

.... and no, I dont know what was going on in the cockpit, but I do have a pretty good idea, which I will keep to myself. The nearest I have been to that was losing an engine in a very heavy Canberra ( big JP on two engines, a potential killer on one) at about 100 feet just after take off, too low and slow to eject on our Mk 2 seats, some choice words were spoken, rapid decisions made but we got away with it, just. If we had had MB Mk4 seats or better we would have been out.

So the Tutor does not have a. CVR or. FDR. so if you have been involved in accident investigation you will know you have an enormous amount of vital evidence but that video is invaluable. The pilot survived, the wreckage is not at the bottom of the sea ,the accident site is accessible. and the engine manufacturers will be able to determine whether or not it was developing thrust at impact, I am confident the real situation will be revealed in due course.

So I will leave it to them, now.

But finally, in this months edition of Sport Aviation, the EAA magazine, there is an excellent article on 180 turnbacks, including NTSB statistics, on such. It was written by a former Shuttle commander and test pilot, so no armchair quarterback or amateur.

Yes, I know it refers to light aircraft but the principles are the same.

Well worth a read, whatever single you fly, you might be surprised, very surprised, at the statistics.

(Although the term altitude is used in the article wheras HEIGHT is the correct term)

Last edited by RetiredBA/BY; 24th May 2020 at 12:02.
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Old 24th May 2020, 13:57
  #196 (permalink)  
 
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Hi BA/BY, we ran a feature about practicing turnbacks in GASCo FlightSfety magazine last year, which concluded that - for a variety of reasons - it was generally better to go straight ahead and NOT turn back, and that practicing turn backs was fundamentally flawed if you initiate the sequence due to the absence of the 'startle' factor. Unfortunately I don't get Sport Aviation any more, but would be very interested in that article's conclusion. Would you be so kind as to provide me with a brief précis please?
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Old 24th May 2020, 14:19
  #197 (permalink)  
 
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There are many diagrams in the really excellent article, so I cant really precis it. EXCEPT to say that, in essence, if your aircraft glides at a steeper angle than its climbangle and you try a 180 you are NOT going to make it.

So please pm me your address and I will send you a copy with pleasure.

It should be read by EVERY GA pilot and I will discuss it at White Waltham when we get back, although my take off briefs never consider a turnback unless I am at least 500 feet AND the first 90 degree turn in the circuit is complete.

Perhaps some good will come out of this tragic accident.

Last edited by RetiredBA/BY; 25th May 2020 at 10:08.
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Old 25th May 2020, 00:21
  #198 (permalink)  
 
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I don't want to refute anyone's theories but I would like to present one of my one which I believe is quite probable.

After the initial engine problem, the natural instinct would be to initiate a slight bank away from Lead while conducting the Red Page actions (ZOOM, IDLE, AIRSTART). Because the pilot was in the right seat and turning away from his direct view out the right side of the the a/c, once he had initiated the zoom and bank his next priority would have been examining the engine instruments which would have been to his left. After a glance there and looking up, he realized that he had over-banked and continued the roll to the left to regain wings level with the horizon. Unfortunately, the pitch-up was excessive and the airspeed bled off during the roll and upon reaching wings level the only alternative remaining was to eject. Sadly, by that time the safe ejection parameters had been exceeded and we all know the result.

As for my background, I am a former RCAF pilot who last flew the Tutor in training over 20 years ago so I apologize for any inaccuracies. RIP Capt Casey and all the best wishes for a successful recovery for the pilot.
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Old 25th May 2020, 00:24
  #199 (permalink)  
 
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A copy as well please BA/BY, QFI's here can do turn backs if the numbers are aligned, but students are not permitted.
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Old 25th May 2020, 00:58
  #200 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post
It should be read by EVERY GA pilot and I will discuss it at White Waltham when we get back, although my take off briefs never consider a turnback unless I am at least 500 feet AND the first 90 degree turn in the circuit is complete.
Great article in Sport Aviation, thanks. On that subject one of the best papers on the subject, in my opinion, is The Feasibility of Turnback from a Low Altitude Engine Failure During the Takeoff Climb-out Phase by Brent Jett, United States Naval Academy Aerospace Engineering Department, AIAA-82-0406. You can access it from here Prof Rogers It is based on a single engine GA aircraft.
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