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Faro
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Riskiest Phase Of Flight Before The Jet Age?

Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:53 pm


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It’s amazing what light weight, a straight wing and copious prop-wash will do to an propliner on final approach compared to a jet: it seems one could easily maintain significant negative pitch attitudes quite close to the ground without fear of dropping out of the sky like the proverbial anvil.

With performance like that available to propeller-driven airliners, was final approach also the riskiest phase of flight back before the jet age? If not what were most accidents/incidents attributable to in those days?

Faro
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Arrow
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RE: Riskiest Phase Of Flight Before The Jet Age?

Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:08 pm



Quoting Faro (Thread starter):
It’s amazing what light weight, a straight wing and copious prop-wash will do to an propliner on final approach compared to a jet:

Equally amazing what lack of leading-edge lift devices will do. For a demonstration, take a look at the approach angle of attack on a CRJ 1-200, just before the flare. It looks similar to that DC-7 (?), but not quite as pronounced. And if you want to see an aircraft really stand on its nose in a landing approach, watch a Buffalo or Caribou doing a short field landing demo.

I think landing and take-off poses the most risk for all aircraft, prop or jet. For the old propliners, you could add some risk to their cruise ceiling as well, because I think they were in the 20K-to-30K range and subject to a little more weather turmoil. And don't forget the rather stark difference in effectiveness of all the nav-aids present today, compared with what was available in the 50s-60s.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Riskiest Phase Of Flight Before The Jet Age?

Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:17 pm

As then & today too.....Has to be the T/O & Landing........more so the landing.Considering the aids available in those days.its much easier now that it was then.
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ImperialEagle
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RE: Riskiest Phase Of Flight Before The Jet Age?

Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:43 am



Quoting Arrow (Reply 1):
want to see an aircraft really stand on its nose in a landing approach

Oh, a Martin 404 could really stand on it's nose too!
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: Riskiest Phase Of Flight Before The Jet Age?

Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:47 am

I tend to believe in the piston days, take-off was pretty critical. There were many an old "windmill" that bought it after loosing an engine on take-off.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
411A
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RE: Riskiest Phase Of Flight Before The Jet Age?

Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:38 am



Quoting Arrow (Reply 1):
For the old propliners, you could add some risk to their cruise
ceiling as well, because I think they were in the 20K-to-30K range

4-engine piston airliners were all limited by regulation to FL250 because they had no automatic oxygen supply for passengers.
Normal cruise altitudes were 14,000 to FL210, or thereabouts.
Long transPacific or transAtlantic flights could get just a bit higher, if the payload was light.

And, yes, I've flown some...DC-6B, DC-7C, 1649 Constellation.
 
vc10
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RE: Riskiest Phase Of Flight Before The Jet Age?

Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:26 pm

People often say that the piston engines were unreliable and prone to failure, which could lead to problems on take-off when every H.P was needed, but they forget that a prop problem could lead to quicker and even greater problems during Take-off as this Seaboard incident at New York shows

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19581110-0

However I believe that the most dangerous phase of flight was during the descent especially during the night and /or bad weather as with the limited navigation aids available to aircraft in those days it could be difficult to pin point your actual position, which could result in you hitting the ground unexpectedly . This also I have to say applied to the early days of jet travel.

If you want to see the cause for air crashes since 1945 then the following site is handy

http://aviation-safety.net/database/

littlevc10

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