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   Undertoad  Wednesday Mar 7 11:26 AM

March 7, 2007: Plane barely survives 20,000 feet freefall



xoxoxoBruce finds this set with its story. You see the windshield spidered in the above shot. That happened at 27,000 feet... let's go to the text from the forwarded email:

Quote:
Whether they initiated a rapid descent or lost control and ended up in a steep dive is not known, as the two pilots have little recollection of the event, both fading in and out of consciousness until shortly before landing.

They took turns, unintentionally, waking up and blacking out and fighting to regain control of the aircraft. One pilot stated "I remember thinking we're in a spin and seeing that the airspeed was pegged beyond indicated. I thought, wow, we're going too fast, reached up and pulled the power to idle, then blacked out again."

According to the radar, they lost 20,000 feet in roughly a minute and a half.

Assume they were pretty much at terminal velocity headed straight down.

At 13,000 feet, (give or take), they started fighting to pull the aircraft out of a dive, it took both of them. The stress on the airframe must have been unreal, as you will see. From that point, parts started leaving the aircraft until landing.

They lost control of pitch and they went almost vertical again. It took both pilots pushing as hard as they could to get the aircraft to start descending. They regained some control around 7,000 feet and were close to cape where they diverted. It is fortunate that they did not have a tail stall as you will see, and I have no earthly idea how they controlled pitch.


When they get out of the plane, this is what they saw... a tail almost completely destroyed.



Well that first image of the tail is taken at a strange angle, and you can't really make out how destroyed it is. Here's the left side of it, from another angle.



The covers for the bolts that hold the wing on have been blown off.



The wing itself has been bent, leaving a severe crease.



Even the fuselage has bent slightly.



From the front you can see how much of the tail is missing.

The landing was shot on videotape by an amateur, and the local news folks did a story on it, first story at this search page. A nice note: the pilots rented a car to get to their eventual destination. Yeah, good idea.


Sheldonrs  Wednesday Mar 7 11:35 AM

"Thank you for falling with us. Have a nice day! buh-bye."



Shawnee123  Wednesday Mar 7 11:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldonrs View Post
"Thank you for falling with us. Have a nice day! buh-bye."
Coffee out my nose!


Sheldonrs  Wednesday Mar 7 01:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawnee123 View Post
Coffee out my nose!
No tea or milk?


SquadRat1  Wednesday Mar 7 01:32 PM

I wonder if these were the guys that won the Mass Millions jackpot?



Shawnee123  Wednesday Mar 7 01:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadRat1 View Post
I wonder if these were the guys that won the Mass Millions jackpot?
That would be ironic, don't ya think? :p


milkfish  Wednesday Mar 7 01:38 PM

Heh heh heh, he said "tail stall."



SquadRat1  Wednesday Mar 7 01:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawnee123 View Post
That would be ironic, don't ya think? :p
Like rain? On your wedding day?


Saraax  Wednesday Mar 7 03:12 PM

Mrs.

Or a free ride. When you've already paid.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Mar 7 03:41 PM

A friend of mine that works at Embry-Riddle flight school in Florida, told me they use a bunch of this type of plane. Rugged and reliable is their reputation.

Fortunately there were no passengers, so they didn't have to disinfect the seats.



Elspode  Wednesday Mar 7 04:34 PM

I once saw Bob Hoover do a ten minute power-management flight demo (translation: flying with the engines off) in a Rockwell AeroCommander, which I think may have been a predecessor, or at least a pretty close copy, of this aircraft. These things are *awesome* planes.

There's no way these guys won a lottery. They used up their entire lifetime supply of luck surviving this.



Trilby  Wednesday Mar 7 05:20 PM

perhaps there was a goblin on the wing? *

* most excellent Twilight Zone story ever!



footfootfoot  Wednesday Mar 7 06:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianna View Post
perhaps there was a goblin on the wing? *

* most excellent Twilight Zone story ever!
or a gremlin, one of the many most excellent bugs bunny stories ever.
:p


rfoxx  Wednesday Mar 7 09:03 PM

Those guys were incredibly lucky. If they had lost the other half of the tail, there would have been nothing they could do to make any kind of landing. As it is now, that plane is crap. I doubt you could find and fix all the structural damage to where it would be safe to fly again. The engines were probably horribly over-revved, but they might be salvageable. It doesn't say, but it wouldn't surprise me if even the avionics got barfed on. No used bargain here.



beagle1971  Wednesday Mar 7 11:52 PM

I looked up the registration (N777AJ) and found some more info on the incident:

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/t...3/m/8711080335

http://planenews.com/ntsb.php?ev_id=...8X00156&kkey=1

Looks like they went into an overspeed situation, given the plane's cruising speed is 292 knots, and the FlightAware.com site shows their max speed was 419 knots at one point (although that's listed as ground speed, so that might be misleading.)



RellikLaerec  Thursday Mar 8 12:03 AM

Well i would think to be glad they didn't have autopilot on. If they would have, the plane would have never fallen fast enough for them to regain consciousness. They would have just kept flying till they ran out of fuel. Course, they would have frozen to death first, so the crash wouldn't of been so terrifying. I think I remember hearing a story like this happening. The FFA found the plane flying off course and had it intercepted when they realized that the pilots and passengers were dead. They just left the plane to fly till it ran out of fuel, then let it crash in a field. How would you like to get that call about a loved one?
Damn lucky pilots. Really glad to hear a happy ending!



Cloud  Thursday Mar 8 12:05 AM

Superman saved 'em!



tulzscha  Thursday Mar 8 12:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elspode View Post
I once saw Bob Hoover do a ten minute power-management flight demo (translation: flying with the engines off) in a Rockwell AeroCommander, which I think may have been a predecessor, or at least a pretty close copy, of this aircraft. These things are *awesome* planes.
And Bob Hoover knew what he was doing...

With the advent of camcorders, Hoover added a flourish to the act by pouring a cup of tea from a Thermos, while performing a slow barrel roll (a 1G maneuver). Video of this has been widely distributed, to the pleasure of Aero Commander enthusiasts.


wolf  Thursday Mar 8 03:16 AM

Welcome to the Cellar, Beagle, and thanks for the research!

The best known plane, a small jet, that flew on autopilot until crashing after decompression was the one carrying golfer Payne Stewart. There was apparently a similar incident in 2005 that involved a Boeing 737 in Greece that killed 121. Apparently they call them "ghost flights."



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Mar 8 05:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by beagle1971 View Post
I looked up the registration (N777AJ) and found some more info on the incident:

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/t...3/m/8711080335

http://planenews.com/ntsb.php?ev_id=...8X00156&kkey=1

Looks like they went into an overspeed situation, given the plane's cruising speed is 292 knots, and the FlightAware.com site shows their max speed was 419 knots at one point (although that's listed as ground speed, so that might be misleading.)
Thanks Beagle, I'll second Wolf's welcome.
I don't understand the 419 knots, link.
09:41AM 36.37 -93.95 183 6500
09:41AM 36.37 -93.93 187 27000
09:42AM 36.37 -93.87 193 8300
They went from 6.5k ft to 27k ft then 8.3k ft in a minute or two. But then they climbed to 27k ft and basically held it there until 10:22AM. The 419 knots ground speed was about 10:07AM while they were in straight, level, flight. It doesn't seem logical they would have done either the speed or altitude, after the incident. What am I missing here?

From that page, the link to the flight status shows the "HORIZON TIMBER SERVICES INC (ARKADELPHIA AR)", flight;
Departure 08:30AM CST 08:39AM CST
Arrival 10:37AM CST 09:30AM CST
Speed 275 kts
Altitude 27000 feet
They left 9 minutes "late" and arrived over an hour "early". I can see leaving 9 minutes later than the filed flight plan, especially with no passengers. But when they file the plan, do they add some time to the expected arrival so nobody gets excited if they run a little behind?

Proofreading this, (yes I do, even though my posts don't look it:p ) I realized it sounds like a cross examination. Not so, I just wondered if you could educate a dummy like me on how this works.
Where's Maggie when you need her? I know there must be some pilots out there that can easily 'splain it.


beagle1971  Thursday Mar 8 12:02 PM

Well, ground speed isn't equal to air speed, but I don't know what the conversion of the two would be, accounting for air density and such, so what I posted earlier is misleading concerning rated speed and ground speed listed at the tracking site. I just theorized that the plane went over its rated speed, which is what caused the structural damage, most notably to the tail, but also the wing buckling.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Mar 8 09:43 PM

OK, thank you.



Sundae  Friday Mar 9 06:07 AM

Where IS Maggie anyway?



Trilby  Friday Mar 9 08:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundae Girl View Post
Where IS Maggie anyway?
Shhhhh! If you say that three times, she appears and eats your head.


Sheldonrs  Friday Mar 9 09:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianna View Post
Shhhhh! If you say that three times, she appears and eats your head.
Both of them!


busterb  Saturday Mar 10 02:59 PM

LSU fooball coach a few years ago. Plane crashed in ocean.
on this page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo_Rein



tw  Sunday Mar 11 03:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianna View Post
Shhhhh! If you say that three times, she appears and eats your head.
Ahhhh ... The Crawling Eye. What a great movie.


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