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-   -   Merged: Replica Spitfire Gympie crash (https://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/431428-merged-replica-spitfire-gympie-crash.html)

onetrack 22nd Oct 2010 09:58

Merged: Replica Spitfire Gympie crash
 
The news services are running hot with reports of a replica Supermarine Spitfire going down about 10kms South of Gympie, QLD, at around 15:50 hrs this afternoon.

The pilot is deceased. He apparently wasn't a local, and neither was the plane, according to reports. Does anyone have confirmation of the registration?

Pilot Of Spitfire Dies In Gympie Plane Crash

Supermarine Aircraft - About The Mk 26

Nil defects 22nd Oct 2010 09:59

Merged: Replica Spitfire Gympie crash
 
Pilot killed in war bird crash
From: AAP October 22, 2010 6:40PM

A RESTORED war bird has crashed in central Queensland, killing the pilot.

The plane, which is believed to be a replica Spitfire, came down in a paddock off Lagoon Pocket Road, about 10km south of Gympie, just before 4pm (AEST), police said.

The only occupant, a male, was killed.

No other details are known at this stage.


RIP

Ned Parsnip 22nd Oct 2010 10:18


A RESTORED war bird has crashed in central Queensland, killing the pilot.

The plane, which is believed to be a replica Spitfire,
Yes - 3/4 scale replica - not really a warbird.


Checklist Charlie 22nd Oct 2010 10:19

ATTN, Australian
From AAP (Arse About Printers!!!!)

War bird........No
A RESTORED War bird......No

A scale replica........Yes

Try this link
Man, 60, killed in Spitfire crash | National News | Breaking National News in Australia | The Sunshine Coast Daily

CC

RJM 23rd Oct 2010 01:07

Spitfire replica fatal crash
 
Man, 60, killed in Spitfire crash
22nd October 2010
A 60-YEAR-OLD man is dead after a plane crash near the Kybong airfield in Queensland, Australia.
The aircraft, believed to be a light plane came down on Lagoon Pocket Road just before 4pm.
Emergency services were enroute to the crash site.
There were reports the plane was a three-quarter replica Spitfire aircraft.

500N 23rd Oct 2010 01:44

Pilot dies in plane crash near Gympie Tony Moore

October 22, 2010 - 6:31PM
The pilot of a replica Spitfire plane has died when the aircraft crashed near Gympie just before 4pm this afternoon.
The pilot of a replica Spitfire plane has died when the aircraft crashed near Gympie just before 4pm this afternoon.
The Spitfire crashed in a field on Lagoon Pocket Road, about 10 kilometres south of Gympie, at about 3.50pm.
Police confirmed there was one male pilot, believed to be in his sixties, in the three-quarter sized replica Spitfire when it crashed.
Advertisement: Story continues below
Ambulance crews arrived at the crash site to find he had died.
Crews said there was no evidence of fire but the replica plane had received extensive nose damage during the crash.
The light plane crashed about one kilometre from houses, an emergency services spokeswoman said.
Ray Gresham, who lives 800 metres from Gympie Airport at Kybong, was watching the pilot doing circuits of the airport immediately before he crashed.
“It’s a three-quarter Spitfire , but it is not a local plane and he is not a local pilot,” Mr Gresham said.
“He is apparently in his sixties, the pilot.”
Mr Gresham said the pilot was doing practice circuits immediately before he crashed.
“Yeah, he wasn’t doing anything unusual. He wasn’t doing any aerobatics or anything that I was aware of,” he said.
“He certainly wasn’t doing any aerobatics or anything silly as far as I was concerned. It just seems he stalled it.”
He said he had been told the pilot had “fuelled up” before he had taken off.

The Green Goblin 23rd Oct 2010 03:34


“He certainly wasn’t doing any aerobatics or anything silly as far as I was concerned. It just seems he stalled it."
It seems Planky is back :p

RIP

nightmode 23rd Oct 2010 10:12

Saddened to hear of this one, the guy was a true gentleman.

Arnold E 23rd Oct 2010 11:14

Any idea what engine was in this particular machine?

sprocket check 23rd Oct 2010 21:03

Is that the one thatwas for sale in Gympie?

rosssmith 23rd Oct 2010 22:00

rego/name
 
Do you have the rego or name...thanks

Fris B. Fairing 23rd Oct 2010 23:21

Aircraft was on the RAA register 19-4024.

Brisbane Sunday Mail this morning reports that police are still trying to identify the pilot.

onetrack 24th Oct 2010 02:46

This particular Supermarine was powered by the GM Isuzu quad cam V6.

JetPhotos.Net Photo » 19-4024 (CN: 019) Private Spitfire Mk.XXVI by Robert Frola

JetPhotos.Net Photo » 19-4024 (CN: 019) Private Spitfire Mk.XXVI by Robert Frola

Judging by the level, pancaked position, it seems fair to assume that a low level stall was the reason behind the crash. Whether that was because of pilot error, or powerplant failure, remains to be seen.

http://www.wattsbridge.com.au/pdfs/qua_june2010.pdf

captwawa 24th Oct 2010 07:17

sad to hear the news, rip B

Gegenbeispiel 26th Oct 2010 02:04

Isuzu
 
It was an Isuzu 6-cyl, I think.

Gegenbeispiel 26th Oct 2010 02:08

pilot has been identified officially
 
Gympie Times has reported that the pilot has been identified.

I found out from his family and colleagues on Sunday. A very sad loss, he was a wonderful friend and a brilliant colleague and mentor. RIP.

Gympie Times also reports that this was the first flight after maintenance at Gympie.

VH-XXX 26th Oct 2010 02:19

The engine is an Isuzu built 3.5 litre alloy V6 as fitted a few years back in the Holden Rodeo in Australia. It was quite a powerful engine when it was released and used a lot of fuel. The engine was not a success in Australia and was dropped not long after as there were a significant number of them with piston slapping and out of round cylinders.

To put it into perspective, a mate who was teaching automotive at TAFE had a contact at Holden who asked if he wanted some engines for his students to work on. He agreed and the day after a day of annual leave he returned to find 284 warranty returned engines from GM Aust of which 282 were petrol and 2 were diesel. It was not uncommon for owners to have 3 replacement engines by 120,000kms on their vehicles.

GM put it down to differences in environmental factors between Japan and Australia :ugh:

That being said, a different story in the Spitfire. Fitted with a custom manufactured dual ignition system which was originally developed for the UK market where dual ignition is mandatory for aircraft. Also fitted with a belt drive unit.

Correctly configured, the engine was so smooth you could almost literally balance a $2 coin on it's end on the engine whilst it was running.


These are general comments and have nothing to do with the cause of the crash.

onetrack 26th Oct 2010 02:46

From the Sunshine Coast Daily -

A MAN killed in a plane crash near Gympie last week was Tiger Moth acrobatic pilot Barry Uscinski.
The 75-year-old man’s name was released by police yesterday.

Doctor Uscinski was a former Brisbane man who moved to Cambridge, England, in 1966.
He was a research staff member at Christ’s College and had a keen interest in submarines.

Dr Uscinski was one of the few licensed in the UK to perform acrobatics in a Tiger Moth.

The replica Spitfire had been undergoing repairs on its landing equipment at Kybong before the crash.

Dr Uscinski was a regular at Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield at Toogoolawah, 41 kilometres south-west of Kilcoy.


The Gympie Times article... Spitfire crash victim identified | Gympie News | Local News in Gympie | Gympie Times


With a pilot age of 75, one has to place some kind of rapidly-incurred, age-related health condition, as high on the list for the reason for the crash. This is not to infer that Prof Uscinski was unfit... it's just that the chances of a stroke, heart attack, or any one of a dozen disabling health events, are more likely to occur at an advanced age.

The pilot was highly experienced, and had aerobatic skills, so it certainly doesn't appear to be a case of piloting inexperience being the cause of the crash.

The maintenance was on the landing gear, not the engine. The aircraft was first registered in December 2003, and it appears that no previous problems have been recorded or identified, as regards the engine or airframe.

There doesn't seem to be any real concern about the Isuzu V6's reliability when reworked as an aircraft engine. It appears there have been no reported engine failures, or engine concerns, in the replica Spitfire engines.
Mike Sullivans workmanship and thoroughness appears to be beyond suspicion. After all, he has had the replica certified in numerous countries... and not 3rd world countries, either.

I have been told the engines are produced by Honda for Isuzu. I cannot verify this. I am surprised at the high number of automotive engine rejections as indicated by VH-XXX.
90% of Japanese automotive engines are now produced in factories that are populated largely by assembly robots. In numerous cases, engines are assembled 100% by robots. This reduces assembly problems to a very low level.

However, the problem remains with high-volume production tooling, whereby wear on tooling has to be very carefully scrutinised, or tolerances commence to go out of spec. When this happens on large-scale production, all engines suffer from tolerance problems.

I was under the impression the high cost of the aircraft engine is related to total dis-assembly, and hand re-assembly... with blueprinting and modification of the engine, the main aim, to meet the more rigorous requirements of aircraft useage. Component balancing to much tighter levels than automotive requirements is high on the list... as is checking of all components for meeting precise specifications. Few people realise how many automotive engines are often assembled with components that barely meet specifications.

I was told a story about Holden engine assembly, many years ago... and have never been able to determine the story as true, or urban legend. I wouldn't be surprised if it was true.
The story goes that the Holden engine assembly line had a bloke checking component specs, and colour-marking them accordingly.
This gent doing the specification measuring was reputed to have had three colored chalks. Green, yellow, and red.

Green-chalked components fell into the ideal levels of meeting specifications. These components went into Export engines. Yellow-chalked components just met specifications. These components went into local production, private-sale vehicles. Red-chalked components were outside specifications, but could be passed with a shove. These components were installed in company fleet, and Govt-order vehicles... :suspect:

True or not? I don't know... but one things for sure... if we actually saw what happened when our beloved automotive motors were assembled in the factories, we would quite likely be appalled... :suspect:

Andy_RR 26th Oct 2010 06:30


Originally Posted by onetrack (Post 6017571)
...the high cost of the aircraft engine is related to total dis-assembly, and hand re-assembly... with blueprinting and modification of the engine, the main aim, to meet the more rigorous requirements of aircraft useage. Component balancing to much tighter levels than automotive requirements is high on the list... as is checking of all components for meeting precise specifications.

This and most of what followed is a load of rot!

Aero engines are expensive because:

1 - of lawyers and the illogic of joint and several liability
2 - the extremely low production volumes
3 - because they can be.

The aero engne industry could learn a lot from the automotive sector if it weren't for the scoundrel lawyers getting in the way of progress!

Sunfish 26th Oct 2010 06:43

Onetrack:


However, the problem remains with high-volume production tooling, whereby wear on tooling has to be very carefully scrutinised, or tolerances commence to go out of spec. When this happens on large-scale production, all engines suffer from tolerance problems.

I was under the impression the high cost of the aircraft engine is related to total dis-assembly, and hand re-assembly... with blueprinting and modification of the engine, the main aim, to meet the more rigorous requirements of aircraft useage. Component balancing to much tighter levels than automotive requirements is high on the list... as is checking of all components for meeting precise specifications. Few people realise how many automotive engines are often assembled with components that barely meet specifications.

I was told a story about Holden engine assembly, many years ago... and have never been able to determine the story as true, or urban legend. I wouldn't be surprised if it was true.
The story goes that the Holden engine assembly line had a bloke checking component specs, and colour-marking them accordingly.
This gent doing the specification measuring was reputed to have had three colored chalks. Green, yellow, and red.

Green-chalked components fell into the ideal levels of meeting specifications. These components went into Export engines. Yellow-chalked components just met specifications. These components went into local production, private-sale vehicles. Red-chalked components were outside specifications, but could be passed with a shove. These components were installed in company fleet, and Govt-order vehicles...

True or not? I don't know... but one things for sure... if we actually saw what happened when our beloved automotive motors were assembled in the factories, we would quite likely be appalled...

1. Production tooling doesn't "wear" like that any more. Furthermore statistical quality control has been in place for at least Forty years in Japan and any out of tolerance condition will be picked up by trend monitoring long before it causes problems.

The problems with the engines may well be due to environmental factors or design issues, such as coping with Australias hot summers. Be aware that most Japanese cars have an infinite number of variations to suit local markets, right down to the level of dust sealing applied. It could easily be that the engine concerned did not have a cooling system that could cope, or the torque curve of the engine was not matched to the gearbox and vehicle weight. You put a free revving engine in a situation where it can't rev and guess what happens?

2. Regarding the colour marking of parts on the Holden assembly line, what was seen was most probably correct, however the interpretation was most probably wrong. Where extra tight tolerances are required, for example con rod bearings and mains, we often use selective assembly.

While each component is within tolerance (say + or - 1 ), we measure each one individually and grade it within say three bands eg; Nominal -1, Nominal, Nominal +1. - mark them with your red white and blue chalks.

Measure the mating components the same way and mark them accordingly. By matching our components that both have tolerance bands of + or - 1, we can reduce the spread of tolerance on assembled units from 4 units to 2 units.


Of course if your process doesn't put out equal spreads between bands, you can end up with some head scratching engineering guesstimates to make.

My summer job one year was to sort out all this stuff for Medical gas fittings at the old CIG.

Gegenbeispiel 26th Oct 2010 16:22

Dr Barry J. Uscinski
 
Just wanted to correct the news piece quoted by onetrack:

Dr Uscinski was a member of the research staff - a senior research associate - at Cambridge's Dept. of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics. He was not associated with Christ's College, apart from maybe having supervised students there, AFAIK but was a former fellow of King's and Clare Colleges.

He will be very greatly missed. RIP.

Lucky Six 2nd Jan 2015 09:21

Accountability
 
When is someone going to be held to account? Something the new DAS should address.

Safe Flying

Squawk7700 2nd Jan 2015 09:35

With all due respect to the deceased and the Coroner, I don't buy this for a second.

Presumably the figures were modified initially so as to allow RA-Aus registration however we are led to believe that somehow the aircraft was assembled and NOT weighed? The builder must have known the actual weight was too high and the weighing records and weight and balance calculation followed to reflect this.

I would like to see the full transcripts.

Unless perhaps it was sold second hand and the new owner and maintenance providers were unaware of the actual weight of the aircraft.

Edit: Got it, I suspect the pilot was not the builder or owner.

Draggertail 2nd Jan 2015 10:35

The second last recommendation from the coroner was. "CASA should review its expectations of RA-Aus and conduct random audits"


More pain for RAAus or perhaps this was one of the drivers for the recent CASA audits.

onetrack 2nd Jan 2015 10:43


(The Coroner) Mrs Baldwin was scathing about the evidence of aircraft manufacturing chief executive Michael O'Sullivan, of Supermarine Aircraft Pty Ltd.

She said he had covered up the aircraft's excessive weight with "knowingly falsified documents" so he could register the plane under the less stringent requirements of Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus), which administered registrations of ultra light and light sports aircraft.

Mrs Baldwin recommended RA-Aus introduce a system of random checks on registration information and impose exemplary punishment on Mr O'Sullivan.

CASA should review its expectations of RA-Aus and conduct random audits. And police should improve procedures to ensure better security for exhibits, she also recommended.
I'm no lawyer, but I suspect that "knowingly falsifying documents" that leads to an innocent persons death will produce accountability in a civil law court.
As far as criminal punishment goes, what is the current penalty for forging aircraft weight documents in an RA-Aus setting? Nothing? If so, then criminal penalties need to be introduced for such falsification.
I have always been intrigued as to how stringent the weight checks are for RA-Aus aircraft. Not very, so it appears.

Squawk7700 2nd Jan 2015 11:30

UL, that is not correct. Happy to chat about it via PM. Don't believe everything that you hear from the messiah.

Onetrack, there were two aircraft uncovered during the CASA audit of RA-Aus as having falsified weights, from memory they were C150's. As a result, the Australian Federal Police were engaged to investigate and act against the owners of the aircraft.

Oracle1 2nd Jan 2015 14:28

Criminal Liability
 
I think you will find that if a direct correlation exists between a falsified weight and a death from spinning in because of an incorrect stall speed it is firmly in the realms of criminal negligence. The problem will lie in the criminal burden of proof that this was the actual cause. Haven't read the Coroners report or seen a recommendation for charges. As usual it will fall back on the civil burden of proof and the deceased's family will be left to slug it out with the no win no pay rape you brigade.

My memory is a little dim now but I think the J400 starts to skirt that boundary of stall speed vs weight at Gross in the 19 category, relying on so called flight tests to determine the observed stall speed. CASA has been ruthless during its recent audits with bullshit weights and RAA. Signed for a few reweighs caught in the audit where the original numbers were total bullshit. As for C-150's being allowed into the category the Tech Manager at the time should have just held a gun to his own head, how [email protected]%ing dum was that?

At the end of the day you just cant beat Darwin's law, there are numerous examples of belt driven re-drives killing, and I am willing to bet that wing was slippery and had a nasty break at the stall.

Tankengine 2nd Jan 2015 20:37

Is it just me, or is it that almost every time someone goes out and kills themselves through miss handling of an aircraft there is a rash of "ohh no, it must be the aircraft":*

A difference in stall speed due to a bit of weight should make no difference to flying it, does nobody actually feel what an aircraft is doing these days?:ugh:

Jetjr 2nd Jan 2015 20:46

I understand the legal side but
Being over its RAA max weight didnt cause the accident

Seems to be saying if it were differently registered it wouldnt have happened?

Stall speed often doesnt rise nearly as fast with weight as many believe.
The J400, mentioned above, gains just 3 kts stall speed when going from 544kg to 700kg

Pinky the pilot 2nd Jan 2015 23:53


does nobody actually feel what an aircraft is doing these days?
Does make one think now, does it not?:hmm:

spinex 3rd Jan 2015 00:13

I take it one would have to apply directly to the court for access to the coroner's report?

If the local paper has reported on the contents accurately and not just cherry picked a few extracts for the sake of a story, this seems to be yet another example of a coroner letting the technical issues slip through her fingers and instead prefer to find a smoking gun in a supposed inaccurate weight provided. Never mind establishing a factual basis between the overweight condition and the accident.

What they seemed to miss is that although there MAY have been some figure fudging to get the aircraft in under the RA Aus 600kg weight limit, the specs I have on the 80% scale aircraft state a MAUW of 810kg. Given that the aircraft doesn't know it has numbers instead of a VH rego, the extra 200kg is irrelevant. As for an engineer designing modifications without an actual W&B - I have my doubts if it was anything that would alter weight or controls.

Oh and UL, to support what Squawkie said, there is a lot more to the story re the other coroners report than what the odd bottom feeder would have you believe. Aside from anything else, there too the alleged inaccuracy had squat to do with the actual cause of the engine stoppage. For some reason an over developed sense of self importance is fairly common amongst those drawn to serve as coroners - the little tin god complex, a colleague who spends quite a bit of time there, calls it.:}

peterc005 3rd Jan 2015 00:14

The additional weight will increase the stall speed.

Possibly the POH stated a stall speed < 45 kt for RAA compliance, but the actual stall speed was greater.

Draggertail 3rd Jan 2015 00:34

Spinex, what you say may well be true. But don't forget the same legal system may be used by the relatives to sue. I would not like to be a person who signed any false documents to get RAAus rego.


The coroners reports in Queensland are usually published on the Coroner's website soon after release.

rutan around 3rd Jan 2015 00:43

Does anyone know whether or not the accident aircraft was fitted with an audible stall warning device. If it was it doesn't matter much what the placarded speed says. The aircraft would be yelling at you to do something about it's current situation.

27/09 3rd Jan 2015 01:44

Jetjr

Stall speed often doesnt rise nearly as fast with weight as many believe.
The J400, mentioned above, gains just 3 kts stall speed when going from 544kg to 700kg
The figures for the J400 don't quite add up.

From their website, 544 kg - 45 kts stall, 700 kg - 48 kts stall.

Stall speed increases by the square root of the load factor.

544 kg to 700 kg represents a load factor increase of 1.285.

The square root of 1.285 X 45 kts = 51 knots, - a 6 knot increase, double what's quoted.

Dora-9 3rd Jan 2015 03:32


The additional weight will increase the stall speed.
Now there's a statement of the bleeding obvious!

Oracle1 3rd Jan 2015 03:34

Valid Points
 

Is it just me, or is it that almost every time someone goes out and kills themselves through miss handling of an aircraft there is a rash of "ohh no, it must be the aircraft"

A difference in stall speed due to a bit of weight should make no difference to flying it, does nobody actually feel what an aircraft is doing these days?
Totally agree the training regime is totally inadequate when it comes to the bottom of the envelope! Go there sometime its enlightening! However there has to be recognition that changing to a new type can be lethal if you are under prepared.



I understand the legal side but
Being over its RAA max weight didnt cause the accident

Seems to be saying if it were differently registered it wouldnt have happened?
Why don't we just print whatever stall speed we want in the flight manual shall we, that way when we jump in an unfamiliar type we will be able to plan our approach with precision. Certification has its merits.



The figures for the J400 don't quite add up.

From their website, 544 kg - 45 kts stall, 700 kg - 48 kts stall.

Stall speed increases by the square root of the load factor.

544 kg to 700 kg represents a load factor increase of 1.285.

The square root of 1.285 X 45 kts = 51 knots, - a 6 knot increase, double what's quoted.

Thankyou 27/09, you just cant beat the math.

Andy_RR 3rd Jan 2015 04:23

Maybe Jabiru quote the maximum allowable stall speed for the 544kg class to give themselves some legal wiggle room. 48kts at 700kg is 42.3kts at 544kg. The extra two-and-a-bit knots padding might be legally useful in the RAAus environment


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