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Merged: Replica Spitfire Gympie crash

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Merged: Replica Spitfire Gympie crash

Old 3rd Jan 2015, 07:59
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 2,218
As much as 48 looks incorrect, in GA world the stall speed should be verified during initial test flying, however this is near on impossible in a Jabiru as it specifically states in the POH that high angles of attack will affect greatly the IAS. Figures are a guide only and will be affected as a result of the individual build process.

Doesn't help much, just muddies the waters further.
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 18:35
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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.......and thus the GA/RA segment of the Australian Aviation industry shoots itself in the foot yet again.
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 21:06
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SEQ
Age: 50
Posts: 447
What a pile of steaming horse manure!

No-one comes out of that smelling very good and in that I specifically include the coroner who seems to have a bad case of the cultural cringe. Obviously hick local instructors would have no hope of teaching a man of quicksilver intellect, oh and problems in the approach and landing phase are obviously irrelevant to circuits that by witness accounts were 1, hammerheaded - go around, 2. too fast - go around, 3. crowded self behind another aircraft, stalled and spun on base to final turn.

As for moving batteries and chucking lead in the tail ("he had trouble getting the tail up initially and thought the aircraft needed more weight in the tail to help it" all without the benefit of a proper, documented weight and balance.....
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Old 9th Jan 2015, 22:36
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 92
Agree Spinex. Having read through the report it appears likely a stall/spin on final because the pilot tried to maintain distance behind a slower aircraft. Coroner appears to be swayed by the references given by people who were not there because of their titles. Coroner could have used independent aviation expert for some sound advice.

The fact that this opened a can of worms for RAAus and the manufacturer is incidental to the crash. No one comes out of this smelling of roses except perhaps the RAAus CFI who did not give the eminent professor an RAAus certificate after 25 hours of training because he was having trouble on approach and landing!
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Old 10th Jan 2015, 02:05
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Styx Houseboat Park.
Posts: 2,053
What a tangle.

Interesting transcript though, just get settled into a pattern and the game changes. Had to read through it a couple of times and several passages more again. Everyone got a corner. But, from a risk mitigation perspective, the messages are clear enough.

That said, I find both the Beard and Soutter analysis of what happened (or may have happened) to be persuasive and refreshing, given the mix of previous statements. You can imagine it easily, tight behind a slower aircraft, slowing it all down to follow and then a distraction (engine, electrical or ancillary system) if the engine was misbehaving, the option to go-around could be taken out of play. It's a problem, but I'm not certain that 'S' turns while wrestling with the emergency gear at low speed was a solution; perhaps the 'manoeuvring' was no more than an effort to land to the side of the runway, in an effort to evade the Auster. Don't know. Then we don't know, not for certain that there was an actual issue with the gear or flaps or engine, it's just not clearly stated. Beard and Soutter allude to a strong possibility of mechanical problems, but do not commit to absolutely. Good effort from both though, given the constraints and lack of official assistance.....

"Mr de Vere noted in his statement that Dr Uscinski’s aircraft was following his Auster aircraft at a considerable distance apart and much lower. He did a mental calculation at the time that the extremely slow speed which his aircraft normally flies at, combined with the much faster speed that Dr Uscinski’s aircraft would need to remain airborne, would have resulted in the Dr Uscinski’s aircraft closing in significantly on his aircraft as it turned from base to final. He was of the opinion that Dr Uscinski was probably performing an ‘S’ shaped manoeuvre to give the Auster time to exit the runway, which is quite normal in the circumstances."
Can someone help with a question: I thought that any airframe power-plant combination would come with a clearly defined, published CG range and a method of determining whether the CG was within that range before flight and likely to stay within that range for the duration, at very least for certification purposes. I'm intrigued by the apparent lack of any related documentation.

There's much made of the alleged 'over-weight' specification but little data on where that weight would act, throughout the flight envelope. Given that the 'original' manufacturers weight specification was used for certification the fact that it was 'not within category' seems a little 'off', sure it was 'heavy' for the cat but was it heavier than the certification weight?

Sorry, don't mean to bang on, but this area of the transcript keeps troubling my curiosity bump. One of the reason I ask is there is mention of lead ballast and batteries being shuffled about, seemingly without any mathematical calculation being made as to the effect of shifting the CG in a series of educated guesses. Flying a 'little' out of the CG range is not too big a deal, but once the CG is located outside of sensible limits, things can and do go wrong.

"Mr Soutter said that in addition to the weight issue, was the balance issue. With reference to the Flight Manual, this aircraft would have had adverse handling characteristics with 8.1kg of tail ballast and a battery which had been moved aft of its original position. Dr Uscinski would have found it very difficult to control the aircraft in pitch and direction as a result, particularly at approach speeds. When it is taken into account he would have been deliberately flying slower as a result of the tasks at hand, then the weight and balance issues would have been a major contributing factor to the loss of control of the aircraft."
Anyway, it's hard to find a real quarrel with the 'Findings', but it's an interesting study of human frailties and the way the ever present, devious holes in that famous cheese can all line up.
Kharon is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2015, 02:25
  #46 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Styx Houseboat Park.
Posts: 2,053
I'll try again.

I have cherry picked the following quotes from AO-2013-051 as they answer some of the questions which the Uscinski coroners report omitted. I expect those answers are in the 'reports' tabled, but without being able to see them, my curiosity bump is driving me nuts. There are some interesting parallels, not only in relation to the accident; but to the reports and findings.

Spitfire - Fatal #1.

By now the pilot had turned right and the Spitfire was near the extended runway centreline and 1 km from the runway threshold at a slow speed. A left turn was then observed and, soon after, a wing dropped and the aircraft entered a steep descent. The aircraft crashed in a factory car park, fatally injuring the pilot and substantially damaging the aircraft.
The aircraft was prone to aerodynamically stall with little or no aerodynamic precursors and it was not fitted with a stall warning device, increasing the risk of inadvertent stall.
Maximum take-off weight for non-aerobatic flight was 810 kg.
Operating data provided for the aircraft type listed the stall speed with wing flap retracted as 54 kt, and with wing flap and landing gear extended as 45 kt (assuming 1 g flight).
At the time he noted that in the landing configuration, after initial slight buffeting and hesitation, the left wing dropped suddenly. He also noted that normal recovery techniques were effective
Shortly after the stall testing, the owner conducted in-flight calibration of the airspeed indicator using reciprocal courses with GPS ground speed data and found that the indicator was under-reading by about 8 kt. On that basis, the owner recorded the actual stall speeds as 63 kt with wing flap and landing gear retracted, and 57 kt with them extended.
The replica Spitfire kit manufacturer advised that their test pilots had found the aircraft type to be stable at low speeds and that a wing drop would only occur if left or right aileron was applied. Under flight test conditions, the average height loss during stall recovery was reported to be 200 ft.
Spitfire-Fatal #2.

"Mr Soutter noted that from the time of manufacture, the aircraft was overweight for the RA-Aus category it was assigned to. He said this would have resulted in a situation, which required the aircraft to be flown at speeds other than those prescribed in the aircraft’s Flight Manual". WTF?
Was this data in reports? :call it an apple or call it an orange, but the stall speed (range) is the stall speed, is the stall speed.

With reference to the Flight Manual, this aircraft would have had adverse handling characteristics with 8.1kg of tail ballast and a battery which had been moved aft of its original position.
Theoretically correct, but where - roughly – was the CG and what was the real weight at the time. Should there not be at least a back of a matchbox calculation to support the assertion?.. Was this data contained in the reports provided the coroner? Was there a table or graph to show the basic weights; or, where the CG was located, the usual stuff BEW + whatever v MTOW: ATOW : MLW v ALW with the CG 'defined' as being @ between X-Y. Curious thing, even if it was guestimated it would resolve some of the issues...Forget the smoke about 'category', the questions unanswered are, was the aircraft (a) over MTOW weight or (b) out of CG?. Seems to me this matters, has anyone worked this out?; is it in one of the reports?.

With this being the second fatal, making two out of 17 (<12%) aircraft I find it disconcerting that the ATSB said:-

"The ATSB noted that the complete decoding / detection / deciphering of the parameters was outside the scope of their assistance to the RA Aus investigation, so it was not performed."
Has there been an owners and pilots pow-wow with some serious discussion related to mitigating the risk of this event reoccurring?, have both ATSB and CASA contributed expert advice to that discussion?

Just asking and no, I don't have a dog in this fight but; it appears 'prima facie', that the reports are 'fluffy', padded and no real risk mitigation strategy has been provided. Well, not in the documents I've read at least. I expect the RA-Aus troops have got it all sorted out and I'm just suffering from chronic curiosity – again.

Right then, back to my knitting.

Last edited by Kharon; 11th Jan 2015 at 02:40.
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Old 11th Jan 2015, 03:18
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SEQ
Age: 50
Posts: 447
You know, in reading through all of that, including re-reading the Parafield report, I still haven't seen anything which makes me think that the copper nor RA-Aus got it wrong in the first place.

Take an aircraft that is a little unforgiving at the edges of the envelope, plus an older pilot who may have lost some of his earlier, finer abilities and throw in a couple of gremlins whether they be traffic, weather or mechanical issues and you end up with a good recipe for type of dog up.

Yes, shining a bright light into dark corners has revealed some less than desireable critters scuttling about, but they didn't crash that aircraft. I've seen some, who should know better, wittering on about a cascading series of failures making the aircraft unflyable, but I'm afraid anyone who flies behind an auto-conversion or on a homebuilt retract set up, should be able to deadstick the contraption on its belly.

Risk mitigation? Short of demanding some sort of advanced rating with annual reviews (not .4 in a Cub!) for not so top guns wanting to play with demanding toys, I don't really know. I'd hope that if I'm ever in a position to buy myself that sort of toy, that I would be left alone to play and maybe gladden the heart of the odd bystander.
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