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   Undertoad  Wednesday May 1 01:16 PM

5/1/2002: 14th hole landing



Another fine MSNBC pic. Here, this lady has performed an good landing, which I'm told is any landing that you walk away from.

She experienced plane trouble (they don't say what kind) and was forced to land on the 14th hole at the Lafayette Golf Course in Lafayette, Indiana. Only after landing did the plane flip over, and golfers rushed in to help her.

Pilots, care to comment? It looks like she chose a flat fairway instead of a residential street (well done), and the grass was just too thick and lush to allow the plane to roll along.



MaggieL  Wednesday May 1 01:54 PM

Looks like she didn't manage to keep the nosewheel off the ground long enough (an important part of soft-field technique) or the ground was soft enough that the nosegear still collapsed even though she'd shed enough speed that the elevator stalled out and she couldn't hold the nose up anymore.

The nosewheel *is* collapsed, which is what flipped the plane and made that huge divot. Funny we don't see any tracks for the main gear; either the turf wasn't that soft or the tracks just didn't make it into frame. The fact that there's a fleet number on the nose suggests that it's a rental aircraft...and apparently she retrieved her kneeboard and flight bag. Something here is saying "student pilot" to me..


Ouch..



dave  Wednesday May 1 02:21 PM

"It's so funny when a girl tries to do something."

--Crow T. Robot



MaggieL  Wednesday May 1 02:54 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by dhamsaic
"It's so funny when a girl tries to do something."
The boys can be even funnier.

I've seen another student pilot in exactly the same position, in a plane I'd flown, at the airport where I was training. He was a cadet at the local "military academy" (which seemed to have some "reform school" elements to it).

We heard he'd been sent to the school (among other reasons) to keep him away from his girlfriend, who he apparently arranged clandestinely to meet at one stop on one of his cross-country training flights. (The term "lay-over" comes to mind).

Apparently was busy enough with her that he didn't get the tanks topped off as he was supposed to, and also neglected to reckon with the fact that it was wintertime, susnset was early, and he had very limited experinece flying at night.

He didn't quite make it back to his home drome before dark, and apparently wasn't able to actually *find* the airport. He eventually started making radio calls, and an instructor took off from the airport to try to find him. (I heard this going on on my radio at home). When he ran out of gas, he landed in a snow-filled field by moonlight. Didn't flip the airplane until he hit a low stone wall.

He was uninjured (my sister-in-law was working the ER that night; I got a firsthand report) at least until he explained to the other cadets why the academy plane would be unavailable for a while.


lhand  Wednesday May 1 03:07 PM

Divot

Man, I hope she replaces that divot, there's golfers waiting to play through...



dave  Wednesday May 1 03:29 PM

Yeah. Boys do stupid things too. I just love squeezing that quote in whenever I get a chance

(In case you're unaware, Crow T. Robot was a star on the now-defunct-yet-still-hilariously-funny Mystery Science Theater 3000. They took old movies, sat in front of them and just poked fun at everything. A lot of it is very adult humor - most intelligent people would get a real kick out of it. If you are aware of the show and even enjoy it, please excuse this parenthesized section.)

My dad's a pilot. Once upon a time, he and his brother were flying somewhere - I'm not familiar with the exact details - and they decided to try something new. The Cessna had two tanks - the first was nearing empty and the second was full. Dad and Dick decided to let the plane run out of gas, just for a second, before flipping over to the next tank.

When the time came, my dad was totally expecting it - but he said his heart still skipped a few beats and that "Oh shit" feeling set in when the engine stopped running. Of course, he promptly switched over to the second tank after that and did whatever necessary to ensure they didn't... you know, careen into the ground So yeah, boys do some equally funny (read: dumb) things.



MaggieL  Wednesday May 1 04:32 PM

Given the accuracy of Cessna fuel gauges, running a tank dry is the only way to know it's empty. :-)



lisa  Wednesday May 1 08:09 PM

From the "Journal and Courier" website (http://www.lafayettejc.com):

"A Purdue University student narrowly avoided tragedy Tuesday night when the small plane she was flying crash landed on the 14th green of the Lafayette Golf Course.

Carol Ann Saunders, an aviation technology student at Purdue, was not injured in the crash, which flipped the plane on its top as it landed on the golf course.

Witnesses said they observed the plane coming in smoothly from the west, coasting slowly to the ground. Near the ground, however, the nose of the plane appeared to become unstable, causing it to flip."

Sounds like Maggie's assesment is correct.. she put the nosegear down too early (for a soft field) landing and caused the nosewheel to collapse. Once the nose touched, it looks like the tail just wen over the top of the nose...



lisa  Wednesday May 1 08:10 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by MaggieL
Given the accuracy of Cessna fuel gauges, running a tank dry is the only way to know it's empty. :-)
Hey, don't forget that the only time they are required to read accurately is when empty.


sleemanj  Wednesday May 1 08:36 PM

Re: 5/1/2002: 14th hole landing

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad


Another fine MSNBC pic. Here, this lady has performed an good landing, which I'm told is any landing that you walk away from.
Ground looks pretty soft, looks like she might have come in hard and fast, a bit much pressure on the nose wheel causing it to collapse, nose dug in and was going quick enough to flip over.

GA aircraft just aren't really designed for rough or out landings.

I've some time in a Thruster (not these ones particular ones) however which are quite capable of this and more :-)



Unfortunatly the club's aircraft bit the dust rather nastily mid last year and the new aircraft, a RANS S6



isn't finished yet (grr, disorganised club committe) so I'm still whistfully looking skyward - *sigh*.

In NZ we are pretty lucky, both of the aircraft above come into our microlight class of aircraft, as well as many other's. Microlight licences have much less restrictive medical requirements, much simpler license requirements (it's managed by a designated organisation not the guvmnt) and of course are cheaper to run in that maintenance is a DIY job for the most part - the draw back for registering as microlights is that we can only do daytime VFR, one passenger only and of course a microlight pilots licence doesn't mean you can fly the tin tops (GA stuff) - then again, tin top pilots can't fly microlights without a microlight pilots licence either. On the agenda at the moment is a rule to allow microlights to be used for hire, and a new recreational pilot licence a bit like the FAA's sport pilot proposal to allow people to fly even larger aircraft with regs similar to microlight class.


MaggieL  Wednesday May 1 08:51 PM

"The nose bcame unstable", eh?

On a close inspection you can see that the left maingear dug in briefly too, just before the flip....and there's no tracks leading up to that divot. LIke maybe the nosegear touched *before* the left main. Possible she forced it onto the ground while it was still going too fast. Might have been a good time to retract the flaps (they're still lowered in the pic), but it's the dickens hard to think of *all* the "coulda/shoulda" items in the heat of the moment.

The left wingtip is a little mangled too, but that prolly happened during the flip.



placido  Thursday May 23 06:20 AM

re: MaggieL

I find it really hard to believe that a plane crashing at stalling speed didn't suffer more damage. I really do think that she touched down first and bled off some speed before the nose gear collapsed. Anybody know the stalling speed of that type of aircraft?

>> Might have been a good time to retract the flaps (they're still lowered in the pic),

Unh? Correct me if I'm wrong but flaps give an airplane more lift thus allowing it to fly slower than normal. Retracting the flaps would have stalled the plane dipping the nose....or am I being think?



Joe  Thursday May 23 06:31 PM

dunno

By the relatively short length of that divot and the minor damage to the plane (OK it's toast but you can still tell it's a plane), I'd say she landed on the main wheels in controlled fashion, rolled out a while then finally the nose had to come down and when it did it dug in. Looks like it was only going about 20kts or so when it went over.

I don't think she landed nosewheel first, or you'd just see a big hole and a few pieces of sheetmetal laying around, since that would mean she flew it into the ground rather than land, and she'd have been going a lot faster.

I think she did a good forced landing, but the ground was simply too soft to support an airplane, most likely because it's a golf course and not a runway.

Not such a bad deal, nobody was injured, some of the plane may be salvageable, and the pilot will live to fly another day.

When the FBO hears about the crash the first thing they're going to do is ask if everyone's OK. When they learn that everyone is fine, they'll breath a huge sigh of relief.



MaggieL  Thursday May 23 10:39 PM

Re: re: MaggieL

Quote:
Originally posted by placido
I find it really hard to believe that a plane crashing at stalling speed didn't suffer more damage. I really do think that she touched down first and bled off some speed before the nose gear collapsed.
It's kind of hard to collapse the nose gear *before* you touch down. :-)

Bear in mind, this wasn't a *crash* until the nosegear collapsed...up to that point it was just an off-airport landing. *All* landings take place at stalling speed or very close to it.
Quote:

Anybody know the stalling speed of that type of aircraft?
Something on the order of 40-50 knots, depending on the flap configuration. But the aircraft remains flyable right up to that point. The ideal technique would be to fly the approach at around 60 knots with the flaps down, then bleed the airspeed off by gradually raising the nose a litle bit at a time as much as possible without gaining height until the wings stall. The elevator should still be effective at that speed.
Quote:
Unh? Correct me if I'm wrong but flaps give an airplane more lift thus allowing it to fly slower than normal. Retracting the flaps would have stalled the plane dipping the nose....or am I being think? [/b]
WIth the airplane already held nose-high with the elevator, as near as possible to the ground, yanking the flaps would have caused it to settle on it's main gear more firmly than otherwise, creating more opportunities to dump energy in ground friction and better wheelbrake effectiveness. While doing this, full nose-up should be applied with the control yoke, keeping the nosegear off the ground until the airplane is no longer going fast enough for the elevator to hold the nose up; the elevator then suffers an aerodynamic stall of it's own, and the nose drops. If you're still too fast to not hurt the nose gear at that point, there wasn't much you could do; the ground's just too darn soft.

I think that may have been the case here.


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