We have recently posted a couple of posts concerning what to do or not to do should you experience an engine failure right after take-off. However, Blake, the blogger behind the Fly With Blake blog, has just posted a video showing a textbook example of what can and will likely go wrong if you attempt to return to the airport at to low of an altitude after an engine failure immediately after take-off.
Unfortunately, the pilot and his acrobatic partner were both killed in the crash and we should warn you, the video is graphic.
Patrick Flannigan says
Wow, just a textbook "impossible turn" accident, but this is a good deal worse than simply not making it back to the field. I wonder what options (if any) existed to land straight ahead.
Oh Jesus. You can see it coming as he goes into that turn. Argh.
I'm not sure this was a *textbook* "impossibly turn". You only have to review the ATSB safety report to see how Reason's model conspired against them. [ http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation… ]. A textbook situation doesn't apply when the circumstances aren't textbook themselves. Having said that, it is a good example of what *will* happen to most powered aircraft in such a situation.
"The time between the first engine splutter and the aircraft commencing a left turn was 3.5 seconds. The time between that first splutter and ground impact was 5.8 seconds. If VH-UNA was climbing at 50 kts, the rate of loss of airspeed after an engine power interruption is estimated to be 5 kts per second. The aircraft has a stall speed of approximately 40 kts. Therefore the pilot would have had just two seconds to apply corrective action before the aircraft stalled. There is evidence that the aircraft had on at least one occasion attained only 45 kts, which would allow even less time to react to an unexpected emergency situation."
Experiments conducted suggest that a pilot will take 5 seconds to react to an unanticipated emergency situation. When the range of available speeds is only 10 or 15 knots in a high drag machine – it means that the preservation of airspeed is essential. The pilot didn
David Walker says
I met this pilot and wing-walker and knew them from Gil Layts flying school at Archerfield. They were both happy go lucky people, just the kind you'd find looking after sick kids. It was sickening and tragic to see this had happened – all we can do is try to learn from it. Training and re-training is #1 folks; we can never listen to a gut instinct. This is the first time I have known the (accident) pilots hours on Tiger Moths and total hours. You wouldn't have expected that such an accident would happen to someone that familiar with Moths; but when is an accident ever expected? In the ensuing years after 94 I trained on taildraggers myself, gaining both AUF and civil (VH) tail dragger instruction qualifications. In the AUF part, I was shown and trained that, depending on aircraft type, it is possible to turn back to field.
In the practices, we practised EFATO at about 200 – 300 feet (in am AUF – read "lighter than VH" aircraft) on climb out leg and very beginning of crosswind and made every landing back at field successfully. It became a lesson in learning at what point, in a certain weight (and type) of plane, can a return to field be considered; something that VH training had not given me – too much fear of what is considered "imminent" in VH. We made returns to land downwind, returns including a figure of eight to land into wind and more. After that I was confident that I could make a correct decision in any aircraft (that I could fly) about possibility of reacquiring the field after takeoff. Most times in VH aircraft you would * not even think * about it before crosswind. Pounds lighter and in an aircraft that has ailerons that fly at even 5 kts, you have a different ball game. In a Skyfox (kitfox) your stall warning is the airframe, you can feel the shudder on the airframe behind you. With that sort of plane you are very connected with the dynamics of the aircraft flight, and can make more marginal (kts wise) decisions. PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT recommending returns to field at low height in VH planes, just the opposite. Know your plane, practice your recoveries.