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ManuCH
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Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:05 am

A local news site reported today that a Piper Seneca, HB-LOG, flying from FRA to LUG experienced an emergency because of a total loss of electrical power:

Article here (Italian only)

Apparently, when ZRH Radar lost contact with the airplane it was immediately escorted by 3 FA-18 aircraft.

I am a private pilot, but I don't understand why they would escort a Piper Seneca with army fighters if radar contact is lost. Is this a new standard procedure I hadn't heard of before?

I will try to find out by going to the destination airport, which is where I usually fly from, but I couldn't refrain from asking here first...

-Manuel
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Stoney
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:35 am

Wouldn't it be kind of hard for the fighters to fly slow enough side by side with this GA-Aircraft? (At least it must have been a great sight for the pilot Wink)

But anyways, I find it kind of strange. Normally our F/A-18's operate in pairs of 2 or as a group of 4. (btw. right now there are only about 14 F/A-18 left operating here (some are in Norway right now), so I think it's pretty unlikely to have 3 fighters looking after just 1 GA-plane)

Greetz and good night (and if there are photos I'd want to see them Wink)

Stoney
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corey07850
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:27 am

Anyone see the episode of the Simpsons where Sideshow Bob steals the Wright Flyer from an airshow? They have a couple Air Force jets to intercept but they just blow right by.... "Speed insufficient for intercept, suggest we get out and walk"... Then you see the pilots in full gear walking next to the plane trying to grab it  Smile
 
MADtoCAE
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:49 am

Yeah Corey, that one was awesome, had a hell of a laugh Big grin
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IAHFLYR
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:27 pm

Quoting Stoney (Reply 1):
Wouldn't it be kind of hard for the fighters to fly slow enough side by side with this GA-Aircraft?

Never seen the F18 demo....that is an amazing craft, slow flight no problem even at single engine aircraft speeds.
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ManuCH
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:39 pm

Quoting Stoney (Reply 1):
and if there are photos I'd want to see them

That was my idea for today but - guess what - it's snowing  hissyfit 
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unattendedbag
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:24 pm

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 4):
slow flight no problem even at single engine aircraft speeds.

Actually slow flight like that is a problem for extended periods of time, especially when they need to turn. I saw 2 f-15s escort a single engine prop out by Cape Canaveral the day of the shuttle launch a few years ago. One f-15 will come in behind the aircraft while the other circles around. When the first f-15 gets close enough to the aircraft, he will peel away and the second will turn to follow the aircraft. They will contune this until the aircraft is on the ground.
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jamesbuk
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Sat Mar 04, 2006 7:38 pm

LOL thats a great idea, what I/we need to do is rent out say a lil seneca take off turn off the transponder, make sure you've got ya cameras and we got ourselves a once in a lifetime picture!!

What is the F/18s min flight speed and the senecas max?

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kaddyuk
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:03 pm

F/A 18 Minimum Approach Speed is 134kts...
PA34 Maximum cruise speed is 170kts...

The jets would have been going AWFULLY slow... hahaha!
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:41 am

The preliminary report was now published and can be found here:
http://www.bfu.admin.ch/common/pdf/HB-LOG (German only)

The Seneca was on an IFR "Z" flight plan.

Quote:
As soon as ATC lost contact with the airplane, they asked the Swiss Air Force to escort the plane with military jets. The aircraft was flying to the south on top of the clouds, and was escorted by the jets all the way to Locarno, where it landed safely

It's still not clear why ATC asked the FA-18's to escort the Seneca. Had it busted some airspace (e.g. ZRH TMA) it would say so in the preliminary report, so that wasn't the case.

-Manuel
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Sun Mar 05, 2006 2:43 am

A few months ago a N registered Piper Chieftain flying from Eindhoven, Netherlands, to Geneva, Switzerland, lost all electric systems over the clouds. Practically all of Europe was covered in clouds and the pilots, with only a handheld VHF radio and a handheld GPS for a backup realised that they didn't have a chance to descend blindly through the overcast in the hilly terrain below. They sent out a Mayday call through their handheld radio, which was answered by an A-10 from Sprangdahlen AB in the Eifel region of Germany, close to the Belgian border. The Warthog escorted the Piper through the clouds (CAT 3B conditions) to HHN to make an emergency landing.

I know the whole story, since I fixed the plane temporarely, so that the pilots could fly next day to Bern, Switzerland, (in much better weather conditions) to get a permanent repair done (the reason was a broken wire at one generator overvoltage controller, which, moving around by vibrations, shortcircuited the whohle electric system and inoped both generator. After 20 minutes in this condition the aircraft battery went dead and U/S through deep discharge. I fixed the wire and installed a new battery and at least go one generator working again, working under my FAA A&P licence (Normally I work on big jets).

Jan

Jan
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727EMflyer
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Sun Mar 05, 2006 2:48 am

Why is this hard to understand? The Air Force jets were responding to an emergency, not a security threat. The Seneca, with no electrical power, would have no way of navigating or communicating in the IFR conditions it seems to have been in. Sorry, never been there, but isnt Switzerland very mountaninous? Seems to me if left to his own devices the pilot may have tried to descend through the clouds and right smack into terrain! Military pilots have training that would enable them to safely guide this poor fellow home, and they can respond with the speed necessary to rendezvous with an airplane in trouble before the airplane REALLY gets into trouble.
Regards, Jeff
 
AmericanAirFan
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RE: Emergency Escorted By FA-18

Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:03 am

Quoting Stoney (Reply 1):
Wouldn't it be kind of hard for the fighters to fly slow enough side by side with this GA-Aircraft? (At least it must have been a great sight for the pilot Wink)

I once went to an airshow at GTU and there was an old WWI Biplane flying along side with an F-16 the anouncer said the Biplane was going as fast as he could while the F-16 was going as slow as he could. it was a nice fly by very interesting to watch.  Smile
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