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SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:42 am
by moving2time
This video of a SuperSTOL crash landing while flying a demo flight at a small air show was posted on Facebook by "Big Tire Pilots" . Sounds like there was a gusting breeze and the pilot is clearly trying to demonstrate landing short by flying on the edge of his stall speed at the edge of the aircraft's flight envelope. Classic low speed stall without the turn that typically causes the stall on approach. The pilot walks away without injury and survey's his aircraft. Managed to get the aircraft's nose up just before impact. Looks like he dropped from about 20 feet AGL. This is a good example for studying the slow speed stall from a far. Anyone notice a rolling tendency in the SuperSTOL during a low speed stall? From my experience flying with Troy it just mushes but that was with full power. I don't recall if we did a low speed stall. It's possible that the wind could have initiated since the aircraft was already on the edge of flight.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/136557813204682/permalink/585824528278006/

Joe B

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:36 am
by av8rps
While very unfortunate for that pilot, that video is a really good learning tool for all of us. It is a great reminder that any airplane, even a Super STOL has its limits.

I remember once almost making the same error when flying my super lightweight, high performance Avid Flyer (that could literally fly at 22 mph) into my dad's 300 foot long model airplane runway on the family farm. I had landed there many times before, but that day there was a strong gusting wind that dictated I land over tall trees with a steep downhill approach to the short strip. So I elected to basically hang it on the prop with lots of power and full flaps over the tree tops while "helicoptering" my way to the ground. My approach speed was right around 25 mph, which was about half of what I typically used at airports. I was actually feeling impressed with how it was all working out until suddenly a strong gust got under one wing and the wing dropped! I reacted with a full burst of power and opposite rudder and aileron, and with a lot of luck managed to make one of the worst landings of my life. But I did no damage to anything. (Well, ok, my pride was injured as my dad saw the whole thing...)

I say all that because that Avid Flyer had the most gentle stall of any airplane I have ever flown. There was nothing I didn't feel I could do with that airplane. It truly was a super docile and capable airplane. But that day the wind got the better of me, and I was just a breath away from catastrophe. So I have a really good idea how that Super STOL pilot felt.

On another note, I was pretty impressed the Super STOL wasn't damaged more than it was. A lot of other airplanes would have suffered a lot more damage in my opinion.

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:38 pm
by joe49
At 28 seconds the pilot right ruddered the SS. He was also holding up elevator, that seem like he didn't release. Right wing dropped and he went for ailerons left to stop the roll. Not a expert but wouldn't the attempt to roll left aggravate the roll/spin to the right? ...and would left rudder and lowering the nose have helped or saved the day? He did throttle up but he was 1/2 way to the ground it seems. Last the pilot didn't have much altitude to recover, but if SS has a 8' high tail he looks to be much higher then 20' agl closer to 40' or 50'. Any experienced pilots please comment.

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:22 am
by R Rinker
That is an exceptional video. It would be interesting to know if and how much the fuselage was bent. The tail & left wing never touched anything, and if there were no twists in the fuselage, a wing, gear & firewall forward would fix it. But it seems impossible the frame wasn't bent to where it would take some serious fixing.
My 2 cents is that he lost control response at least 3 wing spans from the ground which would be over 90 feet and at about two wing spans, or more than 60 feet he was accelerating down rapidly. If you have to crash, that was a perfect crash. The way he hit would seem to have spread out the g's on his tail bones, as that is where the serious injurys are most common in survivable impacts. They say that serious padding with that foam thats made for seat bottoms is the best thing you can do, other than good harness obviously. Helmets are great also.

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:23 am
by moving2time
As I mentioned the video link was copied off of a Face Book post. If you manage to find the Face Book post there are comments and some were from people that knew the pilot. they said that the airplane was fixed and flying again in a very short time. I was curious about the same questions regarding how much damage was suffered. Looking closely by stopping and starting the video as quickly as possible it looks like the right wing tip hits the ground about the same time as the landing gear. The right gear is completely removed and the plan comes to a quick rest leaning on the right wing. I can't imagine the wing not being damaged. It would be nice to get conformation regarding the damage and repairs. If that wing wasn't damaged it speaks volumes to the strength of those tube spars. The right gear was removed completely from the crash. You can see it laying on the ground behind the plane. I agree, it would make a great video to discuss at an EAA meeting with a couple of experts. Rudder is never supposed to be pointed to the ground and the opposite aileron is also a no no. Everything I have heard regarding the prevention of the stall is nose down and opposite rudder as mentioned above. Considering the span of the wings if re-estimating the height at stall to be 30 feet or more after looking at a stopped frame so I agree with those comments. When I get a chance I plan to discuss the wind factor with an expert to see exactly how that impacts the situation. This pilot was clearly operating his aircraft at the very minimal edge of it's operating limits. I believe the wind initiated the roll right but the stall may have been caused by the pilots reaction to that wind. I hope everyone gets a chance to study this video and learn from it. The crash, as unfortunate as it was, happened so we should take advantage of the incident and learn from it. As they say, "Never stop flying the plane!" Joe B

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:58 pm
by dkshow
I usually don't like watching these things. I certainly don't want to be the guy that throws any rocks, it could be me next week. The internet tends to be fairly cruel when analyzing someone else's misfortune.

Having said that, when you get some time in your SS you'll begin to understand that it flies very very differently than anything you were ever trained to do in what I would call a "normal" or "real" airplane. When you're slowed all the way down with your nose in the air, your slats out, full left rudder and full right aileron to keep it level and the airplane just keeps flying... then you start to think that it's a different bird. The airplane will do things that others just won't do. When you find yourself in gusty unpredictable air you're probably going to want to fly it differently with more margin for error. That's all part of the fun, learning how to fly it without bending anything. I personally believe it's one of the safest airplanes out there, and one of the most fun as well. What more could you ask for? Maybe a slurpy holder.

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:51 pm
by av8rps
I want to commend everyone here for such honest, but respectful comments. It's really good to see we can analyze such an unfortunate situation, but yet all be humble and honest enough to admit it could happen to any of us. I doubt our comments would offend the pilot.

I have to agree with Keith in the simple fact that a Super STOL doesn't fly like most other airplanes, so it is really hard to say what should have, or should not have been done? I guess the most obvious answer would be to not fly that slow in strong, gusting winds. But hey, it was an air show after all...

Like the Super STOL, my old Avid was somewhat unusual too. Most people have no clue how well flaperons hanging below the trailing edge works until you demonstrate a series of figure 8's to them at 22 mph, all while the aircraft is shaking and shuddering violently from wing stall buffeting. But because it's not commonly understood, when the wing drops in the stall you can just pick it up with the aileron (flaperon) as that is still flying in clean air and is fully effective. Try that in a regular airplane and you are almost certain to show up in an NTSB report as just another stall -spin fatality. So yes, the Super STOL in many regards defies our commonly considered/known conventional wisdom of what we can and can't get away with in an airplane. Just like my old Avid Flyer did.

It truly is amazing if that SS really is already repaired and flying. More testimony to a really great design.

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:46 pm
by moving2time
One thing I learned and have avidly practiced since I started flying, just a few years ago, is that, as they say, you never stop learning as a pilot. Last year I ground looped my J-3 Cub on a 10 mph 90 degree cross wind landing. I was concentrating so hard on correcting for the cross wind that I failed to execute a proper flair. Although perfectly lined up I bounced on touchdown which is not really uncommon on asphalt with bungees. My focus immediately turned to easing back down to the runway and not forcing it back down to the runway as I was instructed not to do. Consequently, I let the wind push the tail off line and when I set back down on the runway without a second bounce and my tires started to skid and around I went. All would have been fine except there was a ditch very close to the edge of the runway. Just 50 feet further down the runway the ditch feathered out and disappeared and I would have skidded off into the grass unscathed. Unfortunately my prop struck the other side of the ditch followed by lots of howling and tears!

Believe it or not I would love to have a video of that incident. I thought my cross wind skills were fairly good but still I let my concentration get the better of me in that landing. Flying is so task intensive at times it is way to easy to focus on one task and lose sight of another. In essence, I believe that is exactly what happens in the base to final stall that is so deadly and garners so much attention. Focusing on one task at the expense of another. Although not a base to final turn this SuperSTOL incident is basically the same kind of incident.

I mean no disrespect for anyone so I hope none is taken. My quest to constantly learn in the hope of becoming a better pilot requires me to study things like this incident and in my opinion this video is a rare opportunity for that. Personally, I welcome the comments of others on this incident because most pilots have way more experience than I. Initially, I was completely embarrassed about my ground loop incident. The fact that parts for the engine have been so scarce to find which has dragged out the repairs for months did not help my outlook on my incident. Thankfully, most everyone has been understanding and I only get ribbing from those closest to me. Never the less it was a learning experience for me and I kinda have a responsibility to be more open to sharing my experience because everyone can learn something from my incident as I hope everyone can learn something from this incident. Wouldn't it be awesome to hear exactly what the pilot was thinking as he executed this landing approach to go with the video? I can't imagine how much more we, at least I, could learn from that complete experience of the event. I have nothing but respect for people in general unless they waste that respect through their own actions and I hope that we can share these kinds of things in a positive way on this forum. I hope everyone can find value in this conversation. Thank you. "Always Looking to Learn, Always." Joe B

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:05 pm
by av8rps
Joe,

That is a great attitude and outlook. I try to do the same. (Plus claiming how great a pilot I am and then having a screw up tells all those I bragged to just what kind of idiot I really am. :roll: )

"There are those who have, and those who will" That is the most common statement about tailwheel flying. So you certainly are not alone... it's all part of the process. But that's what makes all this aviating stuff so challenging, and once you pass the rite of passage, fun.

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:25 pm
by R Rinker
The only way a highly skilled and well trained pilot can fly (especially off runway) for thousands of hours without having an accident, is to set margins that are restrictive to any kind of convenience, and have the discipline to abide by those margins. I don't have that kind of discipline out at the extreme tests, except maybe when carrying passengers, and I'm not sure I know anyone who does. The vast majority of accidents happen when we violate some obvious limits of margins that we should have set for ourselves. We need to have in our currency regime, a self evaluation of how well we are doing at setting and enforcing margins. No one can fly on the edge very long without a mishap, so it's all about margins...setting them, abiding by them. When I was hauling a lot of passengers and had a heavy flight schedule, I would intentionally abort a flight, on occasion, just to prove to myself I could/would do it. Just because we or the airplane 'can' do something does not mean we should do it. We should do it only with appropriate margins. It's not real macho and braggadocios to fly with a good margin between us and the real edge, but unless we understand that,.. we will have an accident. Been there done that.

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:40 am
by orenjr
Do any of you know whether this plane had the new Spoilers in the wings?
I believe they were designed to drop the opposite wing in this type of situation.

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:31 pm
by BDA
orenjr wrote:Do any of you know whether this plane had the new Spoilers in the wings?
I believe they were designed to drop the opposite wing in this type of situation.


That is a good question - I would like to know that too.

Also if he had VGs on tail?? or Ailerons??

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:53 pm
by ja30driver
I only have about 600 hours in my logbook and 80 of that is in a Super STOL... with no other tailwheel experience... so needless to say I'm "Green" on all of this!

Here is my humble thinking over the past year of flying the Just SS....

I've found that best glide "clean" in my SS seems to be around 55mph. I've also found that in a power off configuration with or without flaps I must have at least 55mph in order to execute any sort of flare at ground level... I understand that my plane is heavy for a Super STOL... so other planes will/may exhibit different numbers and performance/characteristics. If I am approaching at 39mph with full flaps and slats extended have an abrupt loss of power (An abrupt loss of headwind is relatively the same thing) I must pitch forward immediately to get to the 55mph airspeed providing enough energy to execute a proper flare so I don't break the airplane upon landing.

Even at 55 mph all the way to flare... I can still land at 200 feet roll out with little or no braking which is very short in my book! My slats don't deploy until I am in the flare itself.

The risk versus the reward here (in my line of thinking) prevents me from trying the extreme short landing stuff / slow flight! All that is great fun but I only do it when I'm high enough to enable a recovery or to gain enough energy to offer me a flare at landing.... taking human factor into consideration of a slightly delayed nose over execution in the face of the instant surprise of sudden loss of power.

Thoughts?

Does everyone's SS behave like mine? I'm curious because it seems like in Sept 2014 I went to Billy Payne's place and I took a flight with a guy in his SS and he pulled the power to idle, extended the flaps and with slats out made an approach with the nose high and stick full aft.... he just added a slight burst of power at flare to arrest his decent rate slightly.... I guess because my plane is heavy it doesn't exhibit the ability to do this...

Share experiences here please!

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:51 pm
by joe49
How heavy is your SS?

Re: SuperSTOL Crash

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:44 pm
by ja30driver
I will have to look at the weight and balance for the exact weight but I know it is above 820