ferengi80
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'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:27 pm

Not sure if anyone saw the programme 'Plane Crash' on Channel 4 last week. If you did, what did you think?

The basic gist of the programme was that An international team of scientists, experts and elite pilots deliberately crash land a 170-seat Boeing 727 passenger jet to study the mechanics of a plane crash.

I thought it interesting, but was surprised they flew the aircraft with an empty hold. Surely if you want to recreate a realistic crash, you need to recreate the situation? I also thought it interesting that the fuselage only fractured forward of the wings. I honestly expected the rear section to sepereate as well, but this remained attached to the rest of the fuselage.

You can see the programme in it's entirety here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-plane-crash/4od
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Stitch
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RE: 'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:43 pm

 
N243NW
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RE: 'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:47 am

Also, I'm sure I'm missing something by asking this, but is there any particular reason they went through all the trouble of rigging the plane up for radio control? If it were me, I'd just set the A/P for a 1500fpm descent in vertical speed mode and GTFO using the ventral stairs. Is there anything about the 727's autopilot that would prevent this?
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TWA772LR
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RE: 'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:40 am

Quoting N243NW (Reply 2):

I think it was to simulate the plane landing short of the runway still under command by the pilots, not just CFIT. My   
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Starlionblue
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RE: 'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:05 am

Quoting N243NW (Reply 2):

Also, I'm sure I'm missing something by asking this, but is there any particular reason they went through all the trouble of rigging the plane up for radio control? If it were me, I'd just set the A/P for a 1500fpm descent in vertical speed mode and GTFO using the ventral stairs. Is there anything about the 727's autopilot that would prevent this?

Safety I would guess. With radio control you can change stuff on the fly. With the A/P if something doesn't go to plan you can't change the trajectory.
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Jetlagged
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RE: 'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:57 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 4):
Safety I would guess. With radio control you can change stuff on the fly. With the A/P if something doesn't go to plan you can't change the trajectory.

Add to that they didn't increase rate of descent until after the pilot (and Elvis) had left the aircraft. That was tricky enough at a normal glidepath angle. Selecting -1500 fpm VS and then trying to get up the aisle to the tail to escape would have been "sporty" to say the least.

Rather than pitching down, it might have been better to reduce thrust to idle at a predetermined height calculated to result in 1500 fpm impact, and thus impacted in a more typical nose up attitude.

However what amazed me was that having spent all that money on the project they compromised it with a hobbyist style R/C set up with only 50m range. I realise using the radio inside an aircraft reduced the range but surely better equipment could have been found or perhaps external aerials rigged. They lost control before impact because of the range limitation and the aircraft hit nose first which could have compromised the result.
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litz
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RE: 'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:22 pm

This was asked in an interview w/some of the tech crew for the experiment.

The answer given was they were not allowed to modify the aircraft (as doing so would require re-certification), so they were forced to use off-the-shelf model airplane controllers, and tape the antennas to the insides of the windows.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: 'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:58 pm

at least one guy was a fedex pilot and skydiver
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: 'Plane Crash' On Channel 4

Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:55 pm

Quoting Litz (Reply 6):
The answer given was they were not allowed to modify the aircraft (as doing so would require re-certification), so they were forced to use off-the-shelf model airplane controllers, and tape the antennas to the insides of the windows.

I'm not convinced about this. After all, they modified the aircraft internally by connecting servos to the control cables. I was involved in a flight testing programme where a civil aircraft was modified for testing, including adding an external drogue and drilling holes in the radome for air data sensors. No recertification was required, but there was a requirement that the aircraft must be returned to original condition before it could go back into service.
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