Jean Leloup
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Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:42 pm

Hey all,

This crash happened last month not far from me. Ultralight biplane crashed in a field. Not a big deal, really, but what's cool is that the passenger was filming the whole thing from a mounted camera, and the video is a bit neat to watch. Unfortunately there's no 'direct' link, but you can watch the video on the right side of the page where the story is posted:

http://calgary.ctv.ca/servlet/an/loc...h_110722/20110722/?hub=CalgaryHome

At the end, he intentionally flies under power lines to get across a roadway in order to try and land in a flat spot on the other side of the road. As you can see, it doesn't work out too well.

The pilot was the mayor of a small town near Calgary. Watching it, it really seems like the plane is overweight, but apparently it wasn't. He talked about a 'downdraft' causing them to go down, but if it were me I think I would have aborted takeoff, given how long it seemed to be taking. Quite warm conditions on the day, as well.

JL
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nutsaboutplanes
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:09 pm

Just watching the take off roll at the very beginning made me cringe.....I have seen jets use less runway than that ultra-light.
Pretty amazing how he bounced the aircraft over the roadway and landed it flat before the flip.

I would love to see a video of this aircraft taking-off on a previous flight so that we could see if there was a difference in runway performance or if that type of distance is normal. I have just never seen a ligh aircraft take so long to get up into the air.

What a video!
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rcair1
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:19 pm

Okay - so this confused me - because this is NOT an ultralight in the US. Caused me to dig a little and I find that the ultra-light designation in Canada is like the light sport aircraft in the US.

As for the flight - I would hope I would have aborted a take off long before that. You could see the pilot kind of grimicing/puckering. They seemed stuck in ground effect to me - seemed overloaded or not developing required power. In either case - very close to lift margins.
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Centre
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:34 am

Looks like it was overloaded, I'm surprised it was able to lift off the ground.
I have cut 4 times, and it's still short.
 
tcasalert
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:56 am

Quoting Centre (Reply 3):
Looks like it was overloaded, I'm surprised it was able to lift off the ground.

Looks very overloaded, and they are very lucky the aircraft had a high wing otherwise they would have almost certainly been decapitated on impact.
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rcair1
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:52 pm

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 2):
They seemed stuck in ground effect to me - seemed overloaded or not developing required power.

If you watch the video of the pilot interview - he says they were gaining altitude - and that you could see it in the video. But - that they could not clear the fence? I'm thinking there is a bit of wishing there - sure seemed stuck in GE to me.
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Goldenshield
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:26 pm

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 5):
Quoting rcair1 (Reply 2):
They seemed stuck in ground effect to me - seemed overloaded or not developing required power.

If you watch the video of the pilot interview - he says they were gaining altitude - and that you could see it in the video. But - that they could not clear the fence? I'm thinking there is a bit of wishing there - sure seemed stuck in GE to me.

I'd have to say that a 5 foot per minute climb is hardly hardly a climb. This guy was clearly overloaded. Not just by a small margin, either. He tries to initiate a climb not once, but fails 3 times, Plus, once he DOES break ground, his angle of attack and elevator deflections reflect that he was most likely at, or even below, minimum controllable airspeed for that weight, i.e.; he was on the verge of a stall the entire time.
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:29 pm

Hey, that was a big boy in the front seat! I loved the expressions on their faces. Were they even aware anything was wrong as they were joyriding thru the fields?

Then after they get out of the plane the pilot is saying "too much weight, too much weight". Well that's a hell of a time to make that determination buddy. They are both so fortunately the plane didn't catch fire!

Did you notice how little time it was from going over the road until they were stopped? That's all the time it takes to have an accident.
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B6JFKH81
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:48 am

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 6):
I'd have to say that a 5 foot per minute climb is hardly hardly a climb.

Reminds me of the first time I was in a C152 and the CFI told me "the only reason the C152 climbs is because the Earth is curved" LOL!   

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 6):
He tries to initiate a climb not once, but fails 3 times, Plus, once he DOES break ground, his angle of attack and elevator deflections reflect that he was most likely at, or even below, minimum controllable airspeed for that weight, i.e.; he was on the verge of a stall the entire time.

That's what I noticed too...
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Goldenshield
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:53 am

Quoting type-rated (Reply 8):
Did you notice how little time it was from going over the road until they were stopped? That's all the time it takes to have an accident.

And all but the last link in this chain was before he even started his engine.
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:12 am

When I was working on my private we had an FAA examiner who gave the checkride and he liked to do them in the morning. He was kind of tubby. We had one C150 with the long range tanks installed. If you weighed more than 150lbs and got in that plane with him and had full tanks, you'd be over gross weight. When you took the checkride he always asked you to checkout that C150 for the checkride knowing that the school kept the tanks on that aircraft full overnight. Lots of guys got caught on that one.
I just told him "Why don't we use another aircraft due to weight and balance issues". He approved.
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tcasalert
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:52 am

Quoting type-rated (Reply 10):
When I was working on my private we had an FAA examiner who gave the checkride and he liked to do them in the morning. He was kind of tubby. We had one C150 with the long range tanks installed. If you weighed more than 150lbs and got in that plane with him and had full tanks, you'd be over gross weight. When you took the checkride he always asked you to checkout that C150 for the checkride knowing that the school kept the tanks on that aircraft full overnight. Lots of guys got caught on that one.
I just told him "Why don't we use another aircraft due to weight and balance issues". He approved.

I took a PA28 out of East Midlands once without thinking about the weight of the aircraft. There was me and my father in the front, my mother and wife in the back, and a full tank of fuel. None of us particularly lightweight - I'm 6'3, mother and wife both 5'9 and my father 6'0 - combined weight about 800lbs. Add on the cameras all passengers had and "bits and pieces" and it wasn't good.

On taking off I could feel the aircraft was incredibly heavy. I mean we used over half the runway length, I was struggling to climb in a PA28 that is usually like a rocket. We flew around for a bit as planned and then landed back at EMA, thankfully without incident. I am very lucky that we flew from EMA with its huge runway - I can't help but think that if we had been flying out of anywhere else we would have been toast, and if we had landed anywhere else and tried to take off it would not have been good.

Most definitely not my most thoughtful moment, one of those "I'm in a hurry to leave" scenarios that could have ended up far worse than it did.
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:45 am

I have a lot of time instructing in the PA28 series aircraft. I really liked them. But the 140 & 180 models can be very easy to overload with those back seats. And when you are overweight in them, you can really feel it.
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sshd
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:34 pm

I really cannot understand why he didn't abort take-off after the first failed attempt.
This crash is clearly...pilot error?  
 
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:34 pm

T

Quoting sshd (Reply 13):
I really cannot understand why he didn't abort take-off after the first failed attempt.

That was the first thing that went through my mind. He must have gone almost two miles before the thing even lifted off. Most pilots would have chopped the power and stopped a long, long time before that.

Could it be that:

The pilot was frozen with fear?
He was expecting something different to happen?
Did he think that the long take off run would burn off enough fuel to compensate for the excess weight?

And he did fly over a bunch of fences before he ultimately caught one. And he was lucky that nobody was on the road when he went over it.

Wasn't there an incident in India a couple of years ago where a 737-200 was severely overloaded with people, goats & chickens and it took off but couldn't gain more that 10 ft of altitude or so? It eventually ran into an ox cart on a road and crashed. I seem to remember someone telling me about that. Maybe someone here could tell us more.
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rcair1
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:37 am

Quoting type-rated (Reply 14):
gain more that 10 ft of altitude or so?

This looked like a classic "stuck in ground effect" crash.
An aircraft develops slightly more lift when they are within about 1 to 1.5 wingspans of the ground (depends on the wing). This means that an aircraft that is over weight might lift off and climb to the edge of ground effect then stop climbing. Basically, if they climb out of ground effect, they loose lift, and fall back. There have been ground effect aircraft explored - mostly useful only over water. You definitely do not want to fly a fixed wing at a load where you are stuck in ground effect, as you will probably run into something (like a fence or road) soon. You also cannot really turn because you will stall or descend into the ground (if you turn some of your lift is directed into turning the aircraft and if you are lift limited, you will stall or descend).

Also impacts rotor craft. Helicopters will have a specification maximum altitude for HOGE or Hover out of ground effect and HIGE or Hover in ground effect. HIGE will be at a higher altitude than HOGE (both vary dramatically with temp).

Note - the effects have different causes in fixed and rotor wing aircraft. Also - most fixed wing pilots don't have that much experience with ground effect because you can't utilize it like you can in a rotary wing aircraft (A helicopter can lift off in HIGE, then add a forward motion component to increase lift and climb out ground effect. Fixed wing - not so much).

This sure looked like a flight where he could lift off, but not climb out of ground effect.
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AFGMEL
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:02 am

"Insufficient lift"? That must be a euphemism for overloaded. Insufficient thrust I could agree with. That long take off run should have alerted him to a problem. Very lucky.
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sshd
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:16 am

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 15):
This looked like a classic "stuck in ground effect" crash.

After the first attempt he should've cut off power and leave the plane stop. As it can be seen there was plenty of runway to let that happen. No need to push the situation whatsoever.
Further, I wonder whether he tried to take-off knowing that the plane was really overloaded.

As AFGMEL said, very very lucky.
 
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RE: Video Of Ultraligt Crash (Only Minor Injuries)

Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:05 pm

I like the conversation between the two after the incident: 'Dude, we're screwed". Not that it means anything, but the pilot was the mayor of the town? What happened to something called responsibility?
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