mrmgraphics
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:18 pm

Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:00 pm

+

I'm posting the following in this non-aviation forum in the hopes that this is the most appropriate place for it.

I am seeking specific, technical information regarding the Cessna 172 (model year 1956), not as a pilot (which I am not), but as an aspiring novelist. For the past 19 years I have been writing a novel that is best described as a mystery. Central to the plot is the explosion of a Cessna 172, which occurs in the Prologue, and has repercussions throughout the entire book.

I have already devoted 19 years to this project, including much research into the C172. The additional C172 questions I would like to ask in this forum are specific and technical: I promise not to fill this thread with newbie queries. Complete accuracy regarding the plane and its role in my novel is my primary goal for being here. (A typical question involves the maximum dimensions of an object capable of being placed into the passenger compartment, taking into account door dimensions, as said object is too heavy for the C172's cargo hold. I'd ideally describe the object here, and hopefully find out whether or not it could realistically be put into the C172 from members with actual experience flying the plane.)

FWIW, while the C172 plays a prominent role, my story does not center on aviation, nor does it disparage the C172 in any way. I chose the C172 as it is an extremely popular plane amongst civilian pilots, including the pilot flying the plane on its doomed final flight in my Prologue.

If any members are willing to participate in this thread, I will explain things in greater detail, along with my questions. I promise to keep the questions as concise as possible. Again, my goal is to be so accurate as to have any actual C172 pilot pick up this novel and believe that every single related plot element was of the real world, and not a product of fiction.

Finally, if this is a completely inappropriate thread, please delete with my apologies. Thank you. I hope to have an exchange with real C172 pilots here soon.
 
jetmatt777
Crew
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:17 pm

Welcome to Airliners.net!
Most of the tech guys hang out in Tech Ops Forum, I don't see many in the Non Av forum. Even though it is about a novel, it is pretty much about the C172!...don't post a copy in Tech ops...the mods will move it if it actually needs moving! Good luck with the book, and welcome to A.net!

Matt
Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand and take it easy
 
futurecaptain
Posts: 1918
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:24 pm

Welcome to A.net.

I will try to answer any questions you have if I can as best I can. I have alot of time logged in single engine Cessna's and will do my best to answer any questions you bring up.

On that note, I agree with Jetmatt that alot of knowledgeable people hang out in Tech/ops and it could be helpful to post specific questions there.
AirSO. ASpaceO. ASOnline. ASO.com ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO.
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:16 am

If one of the doors is removed (or top hinged with a STC) along with the front row seat next to it, you can fit pretty much anything through the door that will physically fit behind the front row of seats.

Weight and/or CG limits would likely be the limiting factors. Of course it's possible to substantially exceed the published limits but it's not particularly safe. The worst I've ever seen is a 172 take off from 49A with 7 adults on board. Truly terrifying and you could not have paid me enough to be on board!
Where are all of my respected members going?
 
Mir
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:11 am

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Thread starter):
If any members are willing to participate in this thread, I will explain things in greater detail, along with my questions.

Ask away.

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 3):
Weight and/or CG limits would likely be the limiting factors. Of course it's possible to substantially exceed the published limits but it's not particularly safe. The worst I've ever seen is a 172 take off from 49A with 7 adults on board. Truly terrifying and you could not have paid me enough to be on board!

In Tech/Ops there's a good video of what happens when you try to take off overweight. Not cool at all.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
SlamClick
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:33 am

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Thread starter):
devoted 19 years to this project, including much research into the C172

Sorry, but 19 years and you still think a Cessna 172 has a

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Thread starter):
cargo hold

?
I am having a hard time imagining what sort of research methods were used.

Let me guess: You once had a journalism prof. who said: "Write what you know!" It was very good advice.

My recommendations as a pilot and a (technical) writer:

1. Find a 1956 Cessna 172 pilot handbook. I've found such items in used book stores for a dollar or two. This book will have the door dimensions.

2. Use a "voice" of a complete lay-person for ALL discussion of the Cessna and the events surrounding it. No matter what true and accurate information you gain here, you are going to sound very foolish when you try to write it with any authority. Steven King failed miserably in this area in "The Langoliers" even though he interviewed fully qualified pilots. (Oh, he failed at making it non-absurd, he was very sucessful at selling the book and movie.)

3. Don't try to flesh out the Cessna parts with too many details. This is where most writers fall on their faces. If you want to "show" us the action, if you want to put us in it, do it with non-technical details.

4. Write what you know.

Good luck with the project, and welcome to airlinersDOTnet
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 2:30 am

Allow me to bump this back to the top by welcoming you to Tech/Ops - home of the real skinny.

The bulk of an object as it relates to loading it aboard a small aircraft is not to be found in the raw dimensions. If the Cessna door is (all numbers hypothetical) 44" wide and 50" high and the box in question is 30" on a side you still might not be able to get it inside.

The door might open only 80 degrees. The wing and strut may interfere. The seat will only go so far forward along its track. The seatback may fold down flat but the space remaining from the top of the seatback to the top of the door opening may still only be 20 inches. The limiting factor when I load boxes into my car is normally some non-measurement dimension like - I can get the box halfway in but when I turn the corner, the middle of one side contacts the rounded seatback and the upper left corner is starting to tear the weatherstripping around the door. You see what I mean?

So if I wanted to write a scene where someone was placing a very large object into a 1956 Cessna 172 (My brother-in-law owned a 1957 but I don't think the pilot handbook is to be found.) I would locate such an airplane, contact the owner, tell him what I wanted to do, and go out and try it. I might get a couple of cardboard boxes from U-Haul and try them on. You never can tell what you might learn by actually trying it.

If there is an airport or two nearby drive on out. You can tell the model you need because they have a straight tail and no rear window like this:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jan Skiera


Not like this:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Bill Sheridan


When you find the one you need, write down the N-number accurately and look up the owner here:
http://www.landings.com/evird.acgi$p...dings/pages/search/search_nnr.html

Now with any luck, someone with access to, or more knowledge of the Cessna 172 (I haven't flown one since the LBJ administration) will jump in here.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
777-200
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 5:19 am

My FBO has and 1956 cessna 172 and I have about 10 hrs in it, so if you have any questions ask away.
Another Day, Another Dollar.... Young Jeezy
 
dw747400
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:37 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 5):
I am having a hard time imagining what sort of research methods were used.

To be fair, I've heard several pilots refer to the baggage area as a cargo hold... it might not be technically accurate but it gets the point across in conversation. More frequently I hear "compartment", though most accurate would be "area".
CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
 
coolpilot
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 7:57 am

I am a C172-rated student pilot and would be glad to answer any questions. I also have the manuals and stuff if you would like me to look up anything.
 
N231YE
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:05 am

I have a book that covers all of the Cessna 172 models from the 50's to the 1986 model (when Cessna stopped building them, until 1994 or 1995, I believe).
 
2H4
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:12 am



I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.



2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:19 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 11):
I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Hey, how smart is that when your house is just down the street?
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
mrmgraphics
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:18 pm

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:47 pm

+

Thanks to all for your replies, and to the forum mods for moving my message to a more appropriate forum. I'll post a couple of quick comments before laying out my novel's scenario in detail:

The odds of everything I post here being accurate are slim, despite the research I've done to date. (That's why I'm here...to find out what details need fixed.) The 19 years spent researching this book has focused primarily on magnetic levitation transportation (maglev) and superconductivity, as a stolen breakthrough in maglev technology is the actual driver of the plot. Said breakthrough -- a superconducting generator both cryogenically cooled with and fueled by liquid hydrogen -- is the cargo presumably loaded aboard the doomed C172 mentioned in my first message.

Note that, on advice received via email, the model year of the C172 may be changed to 1963. With that in mind, the scenario and how it related to the C172 is as follows:

The pilot of the doomed plane is Dr. David A. Larkin, a physicist at the Erie Superconductor Research Corporation (ESRC). On August 17, 1993, near sunset, he boards the C172 and departs from Erie International Airport. Flying under IFR because of the approaching night, he'd previously filed a flight plan listing an airfield destination near Monroe, MI. (No hazardous cargo is listed in the flight plan.)

At 8:13 PM EDT, traffic control at Erie International received a Squack 7700 broadcast from Larkin's C172. At the same time, on Presque Isle (Lake Erie), a young woman with a camera sees the airplane fly out westward across the lake. From the Prologue, in the POV of the young woman with the camera:

---------- (c) 1987-2006 Michael R McKinney -----
"An airplane approached from the south, the staccato sound of its engine mingling with the cries of the circling gulls. The sound grew louder, then its pitch dropped as the plane passed overhead. She watched it fly out across the waters of the lake then bank westward towards the sinking sun: a small, single-engine craft, the wing above its body. Moments later it was just a fragile silhouette, the thin black lines of wing and tail shrinking into the distance.

She’d almost turned away when she heard the engine slow. Then she saw the smoke ––– wispy white and billowing smoke ––– like the contrail of a jet. It streamed out from behind the plane’s silhouette, a comet’s tail of mist alight in sunset’s reds and orange. She raised the camera, zoomed in on the plane, struggled to center its moving image. Once centered she held the shutter button down, silently counting the frames the autowinder was whirring by: two, three, four, five, six, seven –––

In a flash of light the airplane was gone. A ball of fire more yellow than orange lit the sky, and in its wake boomed a cloud of smoke more white than black. Two explosions followed, then streams of black shot throughout the white. Burning fragments burst forth from where the plane had been, tumbling downward as brilliant yellow, then orange, then finally as red, trailing arching streams of smoke until fading into the deep blue waters.

She saw it all, caught it on film, kept taking pictures until her thirty-six frames were spent. Only then did she lower the camera to look out across the lake: The trails of smoke were becoming fainter, leaving but a dim smudge of gray against the crimson horizon. Behind the veil of smoke, the remaining crescent sun cast a feeble golden glow.

She watched the sun sinking, watched it disappear behind the water’s edge; and then, feeling the cool approach of night, continued walking down the beach."
----------

The story picks up on September 2, 1993, when a private investigator named Richard W. Anderson is hired by ESRC. Richard learns the following regarding August 17 and Dr. Larkin's final flight in the C172:

An NTSB investigation is ongoing. Seven photographs taken by the (anonymous) Presque Isle witness were published in The Erie Herald newspaper. While the destruction of the C172 is photographically documented and Dr. Larkin is missing and presumed dead, the cause of the explosion is unknown. ESRC believes they know the answer. They believe Dr. Larkin stole ESRC proprietary property -- a superconducting generator that used liquid hydrogen as both cryogenic coolant and fuel -- and attempted to fly it across Lake Erie. The generator (which had been developed by a team led by Dr. Larkin) had never fully functioned, and had previously been subject to hydrogen leaks, fires, and several minor explosions. ESRC -- and later Richard -- believe that hydrogen from the generator leaked, filled the plane's cabin, caused the vapor trail seen streaming from the plane (think of the vapor trails before a space shuttle launch, also caused from venting cryo-cooled hydrogen), and eventually combusted. Richard further concludes that the two subsequent explosions were from the twin 28-gal wingtanks combusting due to shrapnel from the cabin piercing the wings. The lack of any evidence of explosives or accelerants in the few recovered remnants of the C172 furthers these theories (as the byproduct of hydrogen and oxygen combustion is water vapor and would thus leave nothing behind).

Fearing shareholder repercussions, ESRC does not share their theories with the NTSB, nor with anyone save Richard.

Details on the generator, in brief: The generator is analogous to the alternator in a car, in that the prime mover (the part that supplies mechanical motion) is an external engine (a turbine powered by liquid H2). So the generator itself is just the part that creates electricity. It consists of a superconducting field coil inside a "dewar," or cryogenic storage container. In lay terms the generator looks similar to a beer keg with some external plumbing and a drive shaft sticking out of the top; and, a weight of 320 lbs. The "keg" part is the dewar that holds the liquid H2; the drive shaft connects the superconducting field coil (inside the dewar and cooled by the H2) to the turbine engine, and the external "plumbing" circulates liquid H2 into and through the dewar (cooling the field coil) and then into the turbine engine to be burned as fuel. An analogy using a car alternator, again, would be to imagine if the car's fuel line was routed through the alternator, so that gasoline first cooled the alternator before being routed into the engine for combustion.

OK, back to the C172.

The "alternator" or "beer keg" part of the above -- the generator itself, sans turbine engine -- is what ESRC believes brought down Dr. Larkin's C172.

If I've done my homework correctly to date, at 320 lbs. the generator would have been far too heavy for the C172 cargo (or baggage) area, as the C172's COG would have been thrown off. That means the generator would have been in the passenger compartment. But is it possible for a 320 lb. device the size and shape of a beer keg to fit through the door of a C172 and then fit into the passenger compartment? Would a seat or seats need removed first? Would a 320 lb, weight affect the plane's performance in any significant way?

Short of finding a C172 and trying to physically fit a full beer keg into it, what are the opinions here regarding cargo of that size and weight? Also, would there be written documentation of the C172's weight prior to take-off?

I appreciate the advice offered here already, and will most likely try to locate a C172 in person, as suggested by SamClick. Until then, aditional insights are most welcome. Please let me know if anyone has questions about the above scenario.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:52 am

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Reply 13):
In lay terms the generator looks similar to a beer keg with some external plumbing and a drive shaft sticking out of the top; and, a weight of 320 lbs

I believe that such an object could be placed on the floor behind the pilot seat in a C-172 and would not present any weight OR balance problems.

If I were doing so (and I'd have to confirm this with the actual W&B data for the airplane, I believe I'd do it with only the pilot aboard. I'd remove the rear seats and the right front seat. I'd then load it through the right side door with the left seat pulled all the way forward to the stops.

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Reply 13):
she heard the engine slow. Then she saw the smoke

Why would the engine slow?

If this thing was leaking hydrogen gas into the cabin area the pilot would be unconscious from anoxia and maybe even dead before any began to leak outside the airplane.

The cabin is fairly airtight. Good seals on doors and windows. It is not a pressurized cabin but it is pretty tight. So why is there a big trail of visible hydrogen behind it?

What ignites the hydrogen?

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Reply 13):
like the contrail of a jet

That is an awful lot of hydrogen!

I know hydrogen burns vigorously, I've seen the Hindenburg films a hundred times but I don't think it actually "explodes" unless the initial fire was contained within the airplane cabin until it burst. Watch the Hindenburg film again, you can see the fire propagate in almost leisurely fashion.

Your description is of a stationary thing exploding. I'd suggest you search out the dozens of videos on the internet of real airplanes exploding and going down in a ball of fire. Hollywood gets it wrong. Forget every movie fire/explosion you've seen in any movie made in the last forty years. They use trashbags full of gasoline to represent every kind of explosion there is. I've seen an airplane get a fuel fire in flight more than once. There is no one single localized "explosion" but rather, something ranging from almost rhythmic puffs of very dark smoke to a column of fireball stretched out behind the airplane for hundreds of feet. It is not a round thing, it is a very elongated thing.

The word explosion has specific meaning. It requires that the expansion must radiate outward faster than the speed of sound in the medium in which it is spreading - air for example.

Fuel tanks will not explode when torn open.

They will burn.

If the tanks are torn wide open at Cessna speeds and the fuel atomizes into the air, the fireball will propagate fairly rapidly, fast enough to overtake the still-flying pieces of the airplane for example. I believe that fire will spread through misted avgas in the open atmosphere at about 165 knots. That is only maybe half again faster than the plane was flying.

There would be a lot of wreckage available to be examined after an event such as this - if you could find it in the lake. Explosions do not destroy material, they only scatter it. Dynamite works in rock because it is so well tamped. There is a county-fair act where a daredevil gets in a coffin with a stick of real dynamite. It certainly does not atomize them. You watched the challenger "explosion" I'm sure. Be aware that the entire flight deck with all seven bodies was found pretty much intact. Horribly damaged and they were dead, but it was more or less intact. Even the explosion of a space shuttle fuel tank did not obliterate that puny little space shuttle. It broke it into a million pieces and scattered them around.

Last point: If there was an explosion in the cabin area of a Cessna 172 and it compromise the integrity of that structure to which the wings are bolted - above the cabin roof, the wings are going to fold up, and probably rearward, and separate from the heavy fuselage. They are taking the fuel tanks with them. Even if red-hot schrapnel pierced the fuel tanks before the wings separated, the resultant fuel fire is going to take place behind the cabin area almost certainly.

Not all red-hot schrapnel passing through fuel causes fires. It may require som additional piece of bad luck. Four of my friends in Vietnam had tracers pass through their fuel tanks in two separate incidents. The fuel leaked overboard in both cases but neither airplane exploded. Had the rounds hit a fuel pump submerged in the fuel, or something like that where the heat of the tracer stayed with the fuel long enough to ignite it, there might have been a fire. Shooting down an airplane with a single bullet through a fuel tank has got to be a rare event.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
zanl188
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Mon Dec 04, 2006 1:58 am

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Reply 13):
ESRC -- and later Richard -- believe that hydrogen from the generator leaked, filled the plane's cabin, caused the vapor trail seen streaming from the plane (think of the vapor trails before a space shuttle launch, also caused from venting cryo-cooled hydrogen), and eventually combusted

Isn't gaseous hydrogen invisible to the naked eye? The vapor one sees around the shuttle before launch is condensation.
Legal considerations provided by: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe
 
mrmgraphics
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:18 pm

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:40 am

+

SamClick, many thanks for your very detailed and insightful post. While I need to make some changes based on your input -- tentatively regarding the wingtanks -- we're more on the same page than you might think. I found it especially interesting that you mentioned Challenger and put the words "explosion" in quotes. Like you, I am well aware that Challenger didn't explode, and that the crew cabin emerged from the fireball intact. (I have the hard copy President's Report on the disaster.)

Why does the C172 engine slow? That' a question I hope readers will ask.

Regarding the explained cause of the vapor trail: In the current narrative, as reported by Richard, "All anyone at ESRC can figure is Dr. Larkin either punched out a window to vent the hydrogen, or tried shoving about three hundred and twenty pounds of volatile generator out of his airplane ––– something he obviously failed to do." (Yes, ZANL188, the hydrogen itself would be invisible, but its temperature would create a condensation trail. But would it create one as big as described in the Prologue?)

Before cringing at the thought of anyone punching out a window of a C172 or contemplating what would happen to flight characteristics when shifting a 320 lb. weight towards a door, bear in mind that Richard is reporting what ESRC believes happened; i.e. -- non-pilots, and certainly not aviation accident investigators.

Quote:
What ignites the hydrogen?

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Reply 13):
like the contrail of a jet

That is an awful lot of hydrogen!

I know hydrogen burns vigorously, I've seen the Hindenburg films a hundred times but I don't think it actually "explodes" unless the initial fire was contained within the airplane cabin until it burst. Watch the Hindenburg film again, you can see the fire propagate in almost leisurely fashion.

Your description is of a stationary thing exploding. I'd suggest you search out the dozens of videos on the internet of real airplanes exploding and going down in a ball of fire. Hollywood gets it wrong. Forget every movie fire/explosion you've seen in any movie made in the last forty years. They use trashbags full of gasoline to represent every kind of explosion there is. I've seen an airplane get a fuel fire in flight more than once. There is no one single localized "explosion" but rather, something ranging from almost rhythmic puffs of very dark smoke to a column of fireball stretched out behind the airplane for hundreds of feet. It is not a round thing, it is a very elongated thing.

The word explosion has specific meaning. It requires that the expansion must radiate outward faster than the speed of sound in the medium in which it is spreading - air for example.

What ignites the hydrogen? Why does the C172 explode rather than burn like the Hindenburg if hydrogen filled its cabin? How much hydrogen would be needed to create a vapor trail as long as the one photographed by the anonymous witness on Presque Isle?

All of those questions are best answered by asking another: How is it that someone happened to be on Presque Isle at just the right place and time, and with a camera to capture the whole sequence on film?

So far, every question and concern you've raised regarding the ignition source for the hydrogen, the way the cabin would burn as opposed to violently explode as described if it were filled with hydrogen, the fact the pilot might die from lack of oxygen...all that's covered regarding what happened on August 17. But your questions were so insightful that they will no doubt be ones that Richard ends up asking later in the book. I'll address that in a future post.

Quote:
Last point: If there was an explosion in the cabin area of a Cessna 172 and it compromise the integrity of that structure to which the wings are bolted - above the cabin roof, the wings are going to fold up, and probably rearward, and separate from the heavy fuselage. They are taking the fuel tanks with them. Even if red-hot schrapnel pierced the fuel tanks before the wings separated, the resultant fuel fire is going to take place behind the cabin area almost certainly.

Not all red-hot schrapnel passing through fuel causes fires. It may require som additional piece of bad luck....

That is going into my novel: What happened to the C172 on August 17, as described, would have to be the result of extremely bad luck. (Or, deliberate planning....)
 
KingAirMan
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:33 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:29 pm

Quoting Coolpilot (Reply 9):
I am a C172-rated student pilot and would be glad to answer any questions. I also have the manuals and stuff if you would like me to look up anything.

Man since when do 172's need ratings ? ? !  Wink
 
BAE146QT
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:58 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:16 am

Quote:
Would a 320 lb, weight affect the plane's performance in any significant way...?

Not only do you need to borrow a 172, you also need to ask Roseanne Barr if she'd like to go sightseeing.
Todos mis dominós son totalmente pegajosos
 
dw747400
Posts: 1091
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 8:24 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:19 am

Quoting KingAirMan (Reply 17):
Man since when do 172's need ratings ? ? !

When you STC your P-model 172 for a 13,000 pound takeoff weight  Smile... or a turbojet.
CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
 
Poitin
Posts: 2651
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:32 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:45 am

While I didn't fly a 1956 172, I owned a 1958 175, which is basically the same airframe but with a more powerful engine. As the owner, I did most of the day-to-day maintenance on the aircraft and helped out on the annuals -- that is I took the plane apart for the inspection and then reassembled it.

1. There is no cargo hold in the aircraft. While it was common to mount radio equipment in the rear fuselage, it had to be mounted on specially installed racks.

There is a battery door on one side of the aircraft that allowed you access to the battery, which was installed behind the rear seats. It was barely big enough to stick your head through. (12" high by 16" long)

2. There isn't much room in the back seat of the plane unless you remove the rear seat. That takes about 10 minutes and a 3/8th inch wrench. I believe there were four bolts, but its been 30 years since I had the plane. It was very easy to remove, and there was a removable bulkhead behind it that allowed you to get into the rear fuselage. I use to remove it and tuck skis down there in a special boot I had installed.

3. You can't get a hellva lot into the back seat with the front passenger's seat in place. However you can remove the front passenger seat in a few minutes by removing two cotter pins and sliding the seat forward and then up (it is mounted on rails with rollers. The cotter pins keep it from going too far on the rails.)

With that you can get a good sized package into the plane and into where the rear seat would be. You can then put the front seat back in and off you go.

You should consider that the aircraft can only handle about 400 pounds in the rear part of the cockpit as it is behind the CG. Loading more than that into the back of the plane would be be suicidal.
Now so, have ye time fer a pint?
 
sprout5199
Posts: 1681
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2005 8:26 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:23 am

Quoting KingAirMan (Reply 17):
Man since when do 172's need ratings ? ? !

And I have to work up to that, Im only "rated" for a 152

Dan in Jupiter
 
dw747400
Posts: 1091
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 8:24 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:43 am

Quoting KingAirMan (Reply 17):
Man since when do 172's need ratings ? ? ! Wink

OK, found it!


Modified Airliner Photos:
Click here for bigger photo!
Design © Joe Coyle
Template © Dan Cook

CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
 
futurecaptain
Posts: 1918
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:54 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:09 am

Quoting Coolpilot (Reply 9):
I am a C172-rated student pilot



Quoting KingAirMan (Reply 17):
Man since when do 172's need ratings

Since when do STUDENT pilots have ratings at all?

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 22):

lol, nice pic.

If I could find a jet engine in the 100-150 lbs of thrust region it could give you about the same performance as the prop of a 172. Would make for an interesting experiment.
AirSO. ASpaceO. ASOnline. ASO.com ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO.
 
Poitin
Posts: 2651
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:32 am

RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:15 am

Quoting Mrmgraphics (Reply 13):
Short of finding a C172 and trying to physically fit a full beer keg into it, what are the opinions here regarding cargo of that size and weight? Also, would there be written documentation of the C172's weight prior to take-off?

Mrmgraphics, you really need to go find a 1956-1960 vintage 172/175. The 175 shown in Slamclick's reply 6, is identical to the one I had. It was sn 55836, while that one shown in sn 55896.

Please look carefully at the pilot's side window. You can see a frame around it, that is because both the passenger and pilot's window swung out at the bottom from the top so you can get air into the plane as well as call "Clear" If I had fumes in the airplane, I could snap the catch up and open it several inches on the bottom. There is no need to bust anything to let the fumes out.


As for the explosion, all an internal gas/air explosion would do is pop both doors open, and maybe not even that if the windows were open. Those doors had shitty catchs and would open all the time in flight. (The slip stream kept them close.) It would take a very vigorous explosion to damage a 172/175 in flight. Even if the hydrogen leaked, there isn't enought oxygen in the cockpit to cause a significant air/gas explosion, and even if you got one, it would not blow the plane up.

There is a "Myth Busters" show about methane gas blowing up a plastic outhouse. They had to work to get an explosion and all they were able to do was blow open the door.

You need a REAL explosive -- like TNT to do the damage your want.

The fire you see on the Hindenburg is not hydrogen burning. Hydrogen burns with an absolutely clear and almost colorless flame. There is a slight amount of blue light given off but you can actually accidently walk into burning hydrogen flame because it is clear, and colorless. Just watch the close up of the Shuttle being launched. You can barely see the flame from the main engines.

The flames on the Hindenburg are due to the aluminum pigment on the dope used to paint it. It was a mixture of iron oxide and aluminum which we now call thermite. Sort of stupid to paint an airship with thermite, but that is what they did and what caused the massive flames.

You should have no trouble getting a beer keg (full size) into the a back of the plane, if you remove the front passenger's seat, and lower part of the rear seat. If you put it over the rails of the front passenger seat, you could locate it on the CG and max out the weight. Depending on whether you are flying a 172 or 175, you should be able to lift 400 or 500 pounds.

Don't let little details get you, but don't worry too much about them either -- after all Hollywood doesn't.

My suggestion is have the keg leak, freeze the poor doctor to death, and then when the plane crashes, you have a fire, and then the blame!
Now so, have ye time fer a pint?
 
KELPkid
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:54 am

Maybe you should bump the aircraft up to a Cessna 205 or Cessna 206 model?

It could easily load the cargo you have described, and is a relatively popular single (not as popular as the 172, but if you go to just about any airport in the USA, you'd find one on the ground somewhere  Wink ). In pure pax configuration, it's a 6-seater, and has nice, generously wide cargo doors at the rear  Smile Any private pilot can legally fly one, with a high-performance endorsement on their license (not particularly hard to get...).

In Alaska, these planes are legendary for transporting hunting parties (and their take) int the bush and back...they can handle a lot of weight!
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BAE146QT
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:11 am

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 25):
Cessna 206

Ideal. And Mr. Scientist might well have one of these rather than a 172, if he has enough money.

MRM has suggested that the plane isn't important - the fact that it was being photgraphed is, (and I noticed that the photographer walked calmly down the beach afterward rather than freaking out. These days, people usually spend a good few hours with their eyebrows up in their hairline and trying to decide whether they have just seen a "terrorist attack").

In fact, he might even have borrowed it from 'ESRC', if they maintained some sort of airborne transport.

Solves a problem or two, I think.
Todos mis dominós son totalmente pegajosos
 
sprout5199
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:00 am

Quoting Futurecaptain (Reply 23):
Since when do STUDENT pilots have ratings at all?

I think he meant endorsed.

Dan in Jupiter
 
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Siren
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:59 am

What about a Cessna 195, if he's an aviation enthusiast? It's a pretty big aircraft, too...
 
KELPkid
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:37 pm

Quoting Siren (Reply 28):
What about a Cessna 195, if he's an aviation enthusiast? It's a pretty big aircraft, too...

What kind of aircraft enthusiast wants to see one of the most beautiful singles ever built destroyed, even if it is just in liturature...  Sad  Angry
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Siren
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:05 am

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 29):
What kind of aircraft enthusiast wants to see one of the most beautiful singles ever built destroyed, even if it is just in liturature... Sad Angry

Kind of the point, isn't it? It's literature. It's a Cessna 195...! You'll certainly remember it. It creates a much more vivid image that jumps out of the page, doesn't it?
 
mrmgraphics
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RE: Cessna 172 Info Needed For Novel

Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:16 am

+

Continued thanks for all of the replies. I am actually learning everything I need to know, and will "come clean" in this message. While I am at least a year away from completing my rewrite and have neither agent nor publisher at this point, I will just say I am confident that this book will see the light of day, and for those who may read it in the future, this message contains major spoilers.

Quoting BAe146QT (Reply 26):
MRM has suggested that the plane isn't important - the fact that it was being photgraphed is, (and I noticed that the photographer walked calmly down the beach afterward rather than freaking out. These days, people usually spend a good few hours with their eyebrows up in their hairline and trying to decide whether they have just seen a "terrorist attack").

Yes, the young woman walks calmly down the beach. As is also surmized by examining the photos she anonymously left at The Erie Herald, she'd used a 35mm camera with zoom, and was shooting high-speed B&W film. As she was on Presque Isle at sunset, it eventually raises the question of why someone would be there with high speed B&W film.

The answer is that she was there to document the explosion.

All of the C172 events on August 17 are not what they seem to be. Yes, David Larkin was piloting the plane when it flew from Erie International, and yes, the C172 blew up with far greater force than if it merely had filled with hydrogen. His goal that evening was to make it appear that he had died, and more importantly, that he had stolen the generator.

Most importantly, he wants ESRC to believe the generator was destroyed.

SPOILER ALERT

Point of fact, neither David nor the generator were in the C172 when it exploded. That the C172 exploded so violently is a plot point, as is that the entire sequence was photographed. (I don't know what I'm doing regarding the wing tanks yet.) At the same time, as ESRC believes that the generator was on board the C172, I had to first of all make sure that having the generator on board was in the realm of possibility, and learning details about what seats would need removed are greatly appreciated.

If anyone is still with me, I'm hoping my next question doesn't cause eyes to roll and groans to be heard, but:

Is it possible for a pilot to bail out of a C172 in mid-flight? (This is tentatively the reason why the engine slows in the Prologue.) As per my present storyline, he parachutes out of the plane before it explodes. He does not do this in a panic, as cryogenic hydrogen was not, in fact, filling the plane's cabin. The entire August 17 C172 scenario, again, was a ruse on the part of David and the anonymous witness. (The vapor trail was similarly a ruse, and was again not caused by leaking hydrogen. David just wanted it to appear that way, because it was similar with the known history of the generator at ESRC.) So he would have had time to do whatever is needed to make the jump, assuming such a jump is even possible.

Finally; yes, David knows that eventually -- most likely -- the truth of August 17 will come out as part of the NTSB's investigation. He is merely trying to buy time between August and November 1 of that year, and convince ESRC and the world that the generator is destroyed.

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