Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Interesting plane crash video, filmed inside the cockpit from 2 different angles. According to the original post, this took place in the Idaho wilderness.  720p and fullscreen for maximum 'whoa'. how long the ground roll was.

First of all, everyone survives. That being said, the pilot got a bloody nose so avoid watching beyond 3 minutes if that disturbs you.  No screaming or anything, so at least there's that.  Crash at 2:44, watch til the end for the second camera view.

Original description: "This is unprecedented footage of a small airplane crash from inside the cockpit from two different views. Miraculously, everyone survived. The pilot will make a full recovery and the rest of us escaped with superficial injuries and feel very lucky to be alive . This trip was much anticipated and due to our excitement we had our Gopro cameras filming at various times. After flying up into the mountains for a hike in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness we were planning on flying to a small mountain town for dinner. Due to warming temperatures we had a hard time gaining altitude. After taking off we hit an air pocket that made us rapidly loose altitude, pushing us down into the trees."

I'm not sure if I agree with the 'air pocket made us crash' explanation - I think they were hot n' heavy and ended up flying into an area of rising terrain beyond the climb capabilities of the airplane.   I'm sure the pilot wishes he had made 2 trips instead of attempting all the pax in 1 load...

I posted this on AvCanada, and got some interesting comments:

"Given the weather of the day from the nearest station: ... &year=2012

Elevation is 6,370 ft.

No pressure provided, going with 29.92.

Density Alt for 20° C would be 8,500 feet. If it was the hottest point of the day, 9,500ft"

 At 00:13 you can see the mixture is full rich for 6300 feet I wonder if he had it leaned for the takeoff. Over trees without shoulder harnesses is also slightly less than ideal. Even with hindsight being what it is.....he had SO MANY options for aborting that takeoff.

In the hills/mountains (in the summer especially) you need to keep some money in the bank (excess altitude, airspeed, or aircraft performance), and this guy had none.


 Nope, not a downdraft. The air was too stable... hence the reason why they weren't able to pick up a thermal somewhere in that field.

It was at or above its absolute altitude for the weight and DA, flying along in ground effect or just slightly higher. Vy and Vx are the same at absolute altitude and the only speed you can remain airborne out of ground effect. Sees trees, pulls up, loses speed.... it becomes a mathematical certainty that you are going down.

There probably was no stall horn on this aircraft or the pilot was smart enough to realize that pulling further back wouldn't do anything... which is probably why they lived.


Oh, the pilot in question had previously crashed a plane a couple of years before.  I'm sure that's not relevant.  Here's the accident synopsis on that one:

NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident
The pilot reported that he intended to fly his airplane on a cross-country flight over high mountainous terrain. After takeoff, the pilot climbed to 9,500 feet mean sea level (msl) in order to fly over mountains. He subsequently descended to 8,500 feet msl, and then he attempted to climb back to 9,500 feet to clear additional mountains. This second climbing effort diminished his fuel reserve, so the pilot opted to divert to a 7,160-foot msl uncontrolled airport short of his destination. While flying over the airport to evaluate its runway's condition, the pilot noted that the runway was covered with snow. The pilot opined that because of the airplane's low fuel state, it was prudent for him to land. The pilot made a soft-field landing on the runway. During rollout, the airplane's wheels penetrated the snow-covered surface, the airplane nosed over, and both wings and the empennage broke.
NTSB Probable Cause Narrative
The pilot's encounter with soft, snow-covered terrain while executing a precautionary landing.


Yeah, the pilot nearly ran out of fuel attempting to outclimb mountains that were between point A and point B.  Last time I checked, mountains don't move around much, I wonder why that was a surprise to him.


Jim said...

Hot 'n heavy is exactly right. "Air pocket" my a**. The pilot of that aircraft is a lucky idiot. From the 20 minutes of takeoff roll, it was apparent the lungs on that aircraft were not gonna climb it out. They are all extremely lucky to be alive.

Luke said...

It's hard to tell how much, if any, the terrain was rising there -- but given that the airplane's climb rate was less than the pilot's IQ, it wouldn't take much.

Personally, I find it very interesting that things seem to start to go Tango Uniform as soon as the plane passes over the tree line. My thought is that the *very* close treetops caused the pilot to, consciously or unconsciously, pull the yoke back a bit, which cancelled out what little climb he had going, and the rest is history.

That was a pretty substantial clearing, though. Do you think, if the pilot had snapped to his senses with the trees approaching, that he had enough lift to spare to make a shallow (maybe 10 degree) turn to start heading back towards the strip? As hot and heavy as he was, it's very nearly an impossible turn, but I'm not sure just how nearly.

Anonymous said...

Another case of "get-there-itis". Even with my limited experience, and especially during the exhaustingly long take off roll, I hope I would have recognised the very sluggish aircraft performance and either stopped the take-off or attempted a landing when it became apparent that the aircraft simply was incapable of performing adequately.
Glad everyone came out well - if a little chastened.

K said...

As I was watching I kept thinking the 'crash' was going to be off the end of the strip into a ditch because I couldn't believe that pilot kept continuing that long-a** takeoff roll. I was waiting for the too-late throttle cut.

Nah, Luke, I doubt he could have made the turn. Looks like thought of it at one point then thought better.

Even after he was airborne it looked as if he had room in front of him to put it in the clearing but by then he was at least 3 bad decisions into the flight.

nec Timide said...

I think previous comments have covered it all. I kept thinking to myself "put it back on the runway", then "put it down in the field", "put it down in the marsh". That is a lot of flying past good emergency landing sites, past poor al the way to bad, to finally take a tree on the nose. I wonder if he will learn from this lesson.

flightguru said...

oooh! pretty nasty! couldve been alot worse i guess! i have recently been watching air crash investigation episodes - pretty scary stuff when you think of the tiniest of things that can cause planes to crash..!

john said...

His neverending takeoff roll indicates a serious misreading of the conditions and the capability of his plane. In this case, being an old codger evidently did not equate to having the widsom of experience.

Wouldn't you think that his previous accident should have put him on some sort of probation? When does it become apparent that someone's pilot license should be lifted, and who would do that?