Another Trike Crash with two fatalities

Published by: Rizwan Bukhari on 9th Aug 2017 | View all blogs by Rizwan Bukhari

 

http://fox6now.com/2017/08/09/boaters-kayakers-attempted-to-save-victims-of-ultralight-plane-crash-in-jefferson-county/

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.wbay.com/content/news/Aircraft-crash-near-Fort-Atkinson-two-rescued-from--439385573.html

 

As reported

 

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) - Sheriff's officials say two people have died in the crash of an ultralight plane into a river in southern Wisconsin.

Jefferson County Sheriff Paul Milbrath said in a statement Wednesday the pilot, 51-year-old David Plambeck of Edgerton and his passenger 16-year-old Max Burlingame of Fort Atkinson died when the aircraft went down in the Rock River near Jefferson Tuesday night.

The ultralight had taken off from Fort Atkinson Airport just before it crashed about 8 p.m. The sheriff says the plane was nearly submerged when first responders arrived. Recreational boaters on the river helped emergency responders pull the two from the plane. They were pronounced dead by the Jefferson County medical examiner.

Federal aviation officials will investigate

 

 

 

 

Comments

60 Comments

  • Tom Currier
    by Tom Currier 8 months ago
    :(
  • Bradley  Waters
    by Bradley Waters 8 months ago
    A lot of low water flyers at the PNW fly-in this year. I had the sense to fly high over unfamiliar rough terrain when I went in.
  • John Olson
    by John Olson 8 months ago
    Yet another tragedy in a 912 trike. When was the last disaster in a 2-stroker?
  • Leo Iezzi
    by Leo Iezzi 8 months ago
    Same here Bradley. It was very unforgiving terrain in most places.
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    That's terribly sad. IF it was a spiral - if - then the cause, and the cure, are very well known, perfectly understood, and should be basic knowledge to everyone who flies a trike, and should never be the cause of a fatality. If the steepening bank/engine power increase is correct, it sounds like an easily prevented accident. Thanks for posting, Lindsay. Very sad.
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 7 months ago
    I got a call from Dave's (pilot) brother Daniel about a week ago. He is trying to piece together what happened to his brother. Another factor is that the passenger was an airplane pilot. I will try and provide more details on this soon but you have heard my opinions/experience on this topic before ......
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 months ago
    Lindsay: Not true. Isn't this a Pegasus wing. Sure seems that way. That is a 15.5 meter 12 year old design. Not high wing loading. At some point instructors and pilots themselves have to take responsibility and stop pointing fingers like "oh its a high performance small wing etc." You can do an accelerated stall in any wing and if you don't know or are not trained, you will go down in a spiral. Thankfully this concept is now a required testing item in the test standards in the US. Finally! Its not rocket science. Some of us completely understand and have known for a long time what is going on and you need to get in with a good instructor if you are not sure what is happening. Its a simple recovery
  • Bradley  Waters
    by Bradley Waters 7 months ago
    I have to agree with A.F. Those Q2 wings want to go only straight and you would have to be real stupid to spiral that wing at ANY time!
  • Doug Boyle
    by Doug Boyle 7 months ago
    No passengers until you have mastered your Approach and Landing, please!
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Abid, you said 12 year old design, did you mean 20 to year old design? Because the Q2 has been around for well over 20 years and has one of the best, safest track records and is one of the most docile Aircraft I can think of.
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 7 months ago
    I'm flying one of these at the moment and they are very docile as Larry says. I would be very interested to know the cause as it's very unusual for this wing to bite. If I were asked I'd be looking at component failure or pilot health. I think the weather was good as well. There seems to be short bars fitted to the control frame, did the pilot had issues that required these?
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 months ago
    Yeah my bad. 20 not 12. I want to be younger than I am
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    Wexy, the report provided by Lindsay says "...He noticed an engine power increase, followed by the aircraft banking to the left. The left bank steepened and the aircraft descended rapidly until impacting..."

    If you believe that the eyewitness is correct, then we can be pretty confident of what happened and why, and it's nothing to do with health or short bars or component failure or the docile nature or otherwise of the wing, and the most likely cause should be screaming at you.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 months ago
    First of all, "lockout" isn't the right word. Trikes don't lockout in a spiral. This isn't a tumble. Airplanes can get into a flat spin and lockout. Trike wings can recover in this situation and recover just fine with right control inputs extremely simply but they need to be done fast and as second nature because to some in this situation, the right inputs are counter intuitive. If you understand what is going on they are in fact not counter intuitive, they make complete sense. That horse has been beaten here in other threads so I am not going to rehash it but this training is necessary and FAA is now requiring it.

    The pilot is the one who actually keeps the trike locked in a spiral and in fact even tightens it up more. In the US trikes are not just experimentals. They are also factory built ASTM compliant Special Light Sport Aircraft. Depends on what you bought and when. There are grandfathered trikes bought before 2007 that are grandfathered as Experimental Light Sport Aircraft but there are other ELSA classifications as well. That is a different subject. This accident had nothing to do with the classification or the engine or anything. It simply has to do with the training and the pilot skill and understanding. It was not time for him to fly a passenger, hence it was not time for him to get the rating in WSC. That is just my opinion.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 months ago
    Rob's crash was flying on the wrong side of the mountain under its peak too close to its face with a student is my best guess. They have found nothing wrong with the machine that I could see. Beyond that we will have to wait for the final report but my bet will be loss of control of pilot during maneuvering close to the mountain. Gust or turbulence being a contributing factor. We shall see if I am right.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    In my opinion Henry's spiral dive video shows The pilot completely locked out until henry removes the stall by pulling in. Lockout to me is the force the pilot feels on the control bar as the pilot impossibly tries to weight shift the high wing down when either the side slip is forcing billow to the low wing or the low wing is partially stalled. The "lock out" is the pilot feeling the weight of the carriage as they pull the carriage from perpendicular of the lift vector (bank angle)

    If this is a simple spiral (which the description is a "classic" description of one) we are looking at a big, docile king posted wing with an A+ track record. This should help confirm the fact that ANY WING can be put into a spiral and if the pilot adds throttle and pushes forward expecting to exit the maneuver it is not going to end well. I'm not saying that's is in fact what happened here, BUT if it did happen, the eye witness would have probably reported exactly what was reported...
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 7 months ago
    That said, there is one thing I notice in the q2 when fully loaded and that is when doing turns in turbulent air it can need a lot of muscle to keep coordinated.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Lindsay, this crash involved what I know to be a Very Safe and Very Strong wing. I think the truth is every trike and every airplane design will be and has been fatally crashed and that will continue until our aircraft have auto pilot to correct and save the aircraft or unless you always fly with Henry Trikelife in the back seat.

    The problem is physics and aerodynamics in my opinion. Physics and aerodynamics are the reason we are seeing many of these accidents. Many, dare I say most, of these accidents the plane was told to do what it did before impact. I agree some wings are more goof proof than others, no doubt. But here is possibly an excellent example of, as I say a goof proof wing going in. Was it piloted in is the only question. The odds of that wing breaking in normal 1 G flight on climbout are fairly low... low enough that I personally bet my life that can't happen when I climb into a 20 year old Q2. That's assuming the wing was in airworthy shape.
  • Joe Hockman
    by Joe Hockman 7 months ago
    I'll throw a couple opinions in on this thread. Lindsay is correct when he says the term "lockout" comes from a situation that could develop when towing hang gliders. I recall hearing this many times when I went through aerotow training. Very bad situation that could develop where you may be unable to control the HG.

    With true ultralight trikes (ie where wing loading is low) I am not convinced that a "lockout" can happen with a spiral dive. In my opinion the pilot should always be able to simply roll out of it even with the lower wing stalled. Larry just said "The problem is physics and aerodynamics in my opinion. Physics and aerodynamics are the reason we are seeing many of these accidents." and I would have to agree, BUT if you think about it, the physics and aerodynamics at work in a heavy trike perhaps 2-up with a small blade wing heavily loaded is actually a bit different than that at work with a lightly loaded larger wing with a light chassis. In particular, the physics and leverage and force required for the pilot to exert on the control bar. If one thinks of a "lockout" in a spiral dive as the inability to simply roll level without pulling the control bar in to unload or remove the stalled lower wing then it certainly makes sense to me that this can happen with a heavily loaded wing. In this scenario, considering the pendulum weight and perhaps completely stalled lower wing, even a muscular pilot may not be able to simply roll out of it without "unloading" the wing first. Frankly, I am not sure that can happen in a true UL because the physics / leverage / force required is quite different. On the lightest end of the spectrum, when a HG pilot is in a harness, the total pendulum weight is essentially only the pilots weight. Here it is very easy to exert the force on the control bar needed to simply roll level from a steep spiral dive. But in a heavy trike the pendulum weight could easily be at least 4 or 5 times the weight of the pilot or more and now the force required to simply roll out may well be beyond what the PIC can exert. Just some thing to chew on.
  • jeff trike
    by jeff trike 7 months ago
    Lindsay, I think the crash video you are looking for is at the end of this compilation
    https://youtu.be/mCjctaBMA8g This video shows many ways to crash. A discussion of what went wrong in each case would be good. A better learning experience than speculating why reb crashed.

    I am an ex hangglider pilot, and one reflex you develop quickly from hairy cliff launches and scratching for lift next to the rocks is, "when you are scared, pull in". This will get you out of trouble in most situations, including the spiral dive, with the exception of landing.
  • jeff trike
    by jeff trike 7 months ago
    I watched the last crash in the youtube compilation I just posted above, and I am wondering "why did he crash?" He had the bar pulled in on takeoff. Was the wing set up wrong?
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 7 months ago
    Last time I saw those short bars being used was by a guy with bad arthritis
  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 7 months ago
    Joe, I agree with your opinions 100 percent.

    Jeff, in the last segment of the video, do you think he had a sudden power loss on take off, causing that crash?
  • Ed Cooper
    by Ed Cooper 7 months ago
    Wexford said...
    "Last time I saw those short bars being used was by a guy with bad arthritis"

    I think they were added so his hands are a bit lower. Makes a difference on long flights. I met him once and we talked about that.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Joe and Rizzy, regarding lock out not being possible on a light trike. Well I am here to tell you that I had lockout and crashed in a light trike. I can remember using all of my force trying to drop the high wing and then the wing tip hit the ground. No I'm not joking and here is my story.

    So I'm ground testing the very first REV prototype and nothing is going right. The engine is sputtering and the brakes won't hold and it is gusting to 25 MPH on the ground. So I decide I'll just taxi it around since I have to keep my RPM up and I can't sit still with a brake system that barely works. Mean while I haven't even preflighted the wing because going flying is not part of the plan.

    After taxiing with the wind I now realize I have to come back into the wind. As I taxi I feel the trike struggling but not realizing it is from the induced drag of the wing I haven't even though about yet which is about 15 degrees higher angle than it should be and that I am assuming it is. (The bar needed to come back 10" with new cables)

    The next thing I know a wind gust takes me airborne and I'm 5 feet in the air. I luckily my ground speed is at walking speed. So I get off the throttle and attempt to land. As I push out to flare my left wing stalls. At that moment my little brain cannot figure out what is happening because the bar is in what appears to be a normal flying position. As the left wing tip desperately tries to touch the ground I am looking at it out of the corner of my eye and pulling on the controll bar as hard as I can. Finally (2 looong seconds later) the wing tip touches the ground and the trike carwheels. It is a slow motion crash with very little damage due to the super low ground speed.

    The moral of the story is light trikes DO LOCKOUT. and confused pilots tend to do what wasn't working all the way into the ground as I did. My situation was totally savable. I wasn't scared, I wasn't panicked, I was simply confused. You guys sometimes might wonder why I am so adimant about certain facts. It's usually because I have experienced the topics first hand. And I want my flying buddies and trike community to benefit from what I know to be true. Weightshift cannot overcome a stalled wing REGARDLESS OF THE WING LOADING.
  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 7 months ago
    Wow Larry, that sounds like a terrifying experience. Lucky for you that you were close to the ground.
  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 7 months ago
    Larry, I read your post again and many things jumped at me, wind gusts of 25 mph, prototype trike, only 5 feet above the ground.

    A 25 mph gust (lockout or not) would present serious challenge to most of us controlling the wing.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 months ago
    Guys:
    Lockout (if you want to keep using that tow HG term which doen't technically describe what is happening imo) can happen in any trike or wing unless you are in a rotary wing in positive Gs. Light, heavy, medium, slow, fast, big small. End of story. Recovery and correction is a one second deal, if you know. Its a disaster if you don't. Now I will be back to hurricane disaster here and hope for the best.
    Its true that some wings are more prone to it than others but Q2 on that light Quantum Super Sport would be one of those less prone and you can get it there if you want to.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Rizzy, the wind had nothing to do with the lock out. I promise you. I was pulling with about 100-200 lbs of force. It was no coincidence that the AOA was near critical at bar neutral and I experienced what I did. Believe me I will not crash a production REV just because it's gusting to 25 mph. And I do know what lockout feels like.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Monty, I actually do have my newest yellow REV with us 600 miles north at the moment.
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    I think it was me that brought the term lockout from hang gliding towing to this site, intending it to mean "I'm trying to roll level without the assistance of reduced throttle and pitching down, and I don't why it's not working." I probably should have used a different term, as the original meaning is different, but as far as a pilot is concerned the effect is the same.

    I think a Q2 has flown around the world (Brian Milton + Keith Reynolds), but perhaps it was a Blade. Although it's old it's something of a classic in my opinion, a wonderful, vice-free, perfectly predictable wing. There's a brand new one in my hangar.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    I described above what I consider lock out. The bar cannot be moved sideways and the wing is rolling. You might be able to hold the bank angle, but you cannot level the wings.

    To the best of my knowledge, there are only 2 scenarios that lock out can occur. One is a stalled low wing while the high wing is Not stalled. This can happen on any trike. And the second is a high speed prolonged slip where the low wing is being billowed (reduced AOA) by the slip. The side slip is much more pronounced in faster trikes particularity with pods, wide nose angle, low twist wings, with airfoiled wing struts. So slower king posted wing trikes without a pod are much more immune to the 2nd factor that can arise. However 90% of wing designs will coordinate within seconds removing the lock out caused by side slip. But there are wings that will not and remain side slipped. Those wing models are all discontinued as of 2017 to the best of my knowledge.

    But stalling the low wing can be done on any trike and it will not self correct if the pilot continues to push forward in an effort to raise the nose in a spiral.
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    There is a third scenario, although it's usually transient, and that's a big clue... and it can cause a tip stall... and some wings are more prone to this than others, but it can happen to all...
  • Neil Scoble
    by Neil Scoble 7 months ago
    Bryan, I know when I was hang gliding we had to be careful to carry enough speed in light conditions when getting in close to the ridge in case we stalled a tip in the wind gradient near the hill?
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Bryan, that's still a stalled wing, which is pretty much always going to be a partially stalled wing. So I see that as scenario #1 I mentioned above.
  • Bradley  Waters
    by Bradley Waters 7 months ago
    Hey...I have a video of myself during a tip stall situation. I was doing a test flight/proof of flight video for a customer and I just happened to capture all the goodness! If someone can walk me through how to post on this site I will try.
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    Noel, that's a fantastic example of what I was thinking of. And while Larry did mention stalls, I think it's worth bearing in mind that it's not just pilots that induce a lockout. Turbulence can lock you out, usually briefly, without stalling a tip, although it often does. I keep thinking about a comment made by a UK instructor that they don't teach pulling in when initiating a turn, and I can think of a few reasons why I don't agree.

    Firstly, there is a solid reason as to why pulling in will increase the rate of initiation of roll, and there are times when you want a fast response. If you normally pull in when rolling in AND out of turns, you've got this under your belt. Secondly, as has been discussed over and over, there are times when you need to pull in to be able to roll out of a turn. If this is automatic, then a pilot will instinctively make the correct action to either avoid or recover from a situation that could otherwise result in a lockout. It's speculation, but based on the eyewitness reports, if the pilot in question in the fatality on this page had a habit of rolling in and out of turns with a little pitch down, this accident would have just been a normal approach and landing. And this is one reason why I like the thumbs-on-top grip - this automatically seems to happen.

    We've got a highly entertaining landing site here - cross wind, cross slope, narrow and fenced. The situation Noel mentions. Trying to keep the inside tip flying, to avoid yawing into wind and getting wrapped up in the fence, and getting a decent touchdown is challenging. As an aside, turbulence - shear, rotors, gradient against a hill, etc - can affect a wing by disrupting the tip vortices and lowering the drag of the affected wing - this is very real but seldom mentioned.
  • Andy Hughes
    by Andy Hughes 7 months ago
    Brian, you state " I like the thumbs-on-top grip" how would that make a difference? I'm new to trikes, not licenced yet, so any input/info would be great. Big thanks to Larry M for the vid he put together of Henry's close call. I also own a Pegasus Q2 912 identical to that fallen bird in this topic. My Pegasus and wing are low time,171 hrs TTSN
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    Hi Andy. Thumbs-above seems to encourage me to pitch in when initiating roll or rolling out; it just seems to happen naturally. That's what I was referring to in this case. I find it far more relaxing and comfortable in turbulence. Larry M put together a video about it - what was it called? 'Staying On Top With Your Knees and Elbows While You Rotate With Your Thumb', or something like that. Larry covers it brilliantly - worth trying to find. Monty wrote a blog about it, but it probably turned into a sheepfest.

    A mate flew his Q2 around all of New Zealand, both islands, over the Alps. He was taking off somewhere when a piece of wire flew into the prop, which flung it into the wing, tearing the trailing edge. He chose to replace his Q2 with another Q2, brand new, sent from the UK. It's dated, perhaps like a Streak III, but it's a great wing. Hope you're enjoying yours, Andy.
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 7 months ago
    A new Q2 sail with the black colored trilam trailing edge reinforcement band will cruise at 75mph and handles much like the gt450 except with a slightly higher rpm as its slightly less efficient in cruise. They are dated but with some modern tweaks are as good as any. Wonder how it would behave with undersurface vents
  • Paul Dewhurst
    by Paul Dewhurst 7 months ago
    I have got around 2000 hours or so flying with and teaching on the Q2. It's extremely docile, is pitch
    Limited so you never get to an aerodynamic stall, has and you can with enough effort roll with bar on the front strut ( it thermals best this way if you have the strength to maintain it!).

    It's also very spirally stable - let go in a descending turn and it trends towards wings level.

    So it's difficult to understand how it could be some sort of locked in spiral dive unless the piloting was extremely poor.

    There is a mandatory modification on the older Q2 wings to re stitch the tip webbing - following a stitching failure. I was the first to find this - and was lucky to maintain control - the sail ended up bearing on the washout rod and the fabric was slowly tearing releasing sail tension on that side and causing an ever increasing roll force. I just had enough control left to land it - less than a minute after initial failure.

    So if I were investigating this accident I would look at the tip webbing attachment as the first thing.

    These wings can be very old now - so sail degradation and possible failure would be another area I would look at carefully.

    I would also look to see if anything had gone through the prop and then been thrown out and damaged the sail.

    Then there is also the question of weather / turbulence.

    There is also the possibility of reverse control inputs if the fixedwing pilot passenger was on the controls.

    Inadvertent spiral dive and pilot inability to recover should be low in likely hood compared to the above IMHO

    Paul
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Paul, great thoughts on the wing and I am forwarding your comments to a colleague of mine who is investigating the wreckage tomorrow. So thanks for that.

    I can't believe you have never experiemced a pilot add throttle and push forward to exit a spiral with you in the back. It doesn't take a lock out for pilots to wind it in. I can't stress that enough. Having said that I doubt you have tried it and I don't suggest it, but I believe the Q2 can in fact lock out by stalling the inside wing when throttle is applied with the bar out in a steep enough spiral especially with opposite roll input where the low wing increases its AOI well beyond what it is in S+L flight. So just because a wing will not stall and you can fly it around with the control bar on the front strut doesn't mean you can't stall the low wing in a spiral. The RIVAL S in this video will also not stall and can be flown with the Bar to the front strut but watch what happens when full throttle is applied. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KPhIc97z_4g
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Andy, glad you found the other video helpful. Here is the video Bryan is referring to. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3cUl8HlcPKA

    All of these videos are now in one place on our new website www.EvolutionTrikes.com on the video gallery page.
  • Paul Dewhurst
    by Paul Dewhurst 7 months ago
    Hi Larry. We don't seem to have spiral related accidents in the UK. It has been in our training syllabus since the early 80's though. And most UK trikes have high pitch stability and manoeuvre stabilty ( bar pushes back as G is increased), which means more resistance to inadvertent stall in a turn, or stalling in an accelerated turn.

    Maybe one, or a combination of those factors has made the difference.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Paul, the training makes all the difference. That I am sure of.
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 7 months ago
    My thoughts as well Paul. You can see from one of the photos where the leading edge of the sail is ripped exposing either the tube or the Mylar. This may have been caused after impact but one area to look at and do a betts test on the sail and stitching. Do you know what the cause of the in flight breakup was on the 582 quantum recently that the guy survived?
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    Paul, thanks for posting that info - I'll be passing that on to the Q2 owners here.

    I still see that 'increase in engine power' as something to note in this accident, regardless of what caused the initial roll. All speculation...
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    I must agree with Bryans last statement.
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 7 months ago
    He seems to have made a few approaches for whatever reason so perhaps he was initiating a go-around. Not that I disagree with you Bryan but just keeping an open mind
  • Andy Hughes
    by Andy Hughes 7 months ago
    Wex. You stated "You can see from one of the photos where the leading edge of the sail is ripped exposing either the tube or the Mylar" On my wing were you see the wording Pegasus in pix 1 and 3. That's the end of the keel tube cover not the leading edge. Unless that is not what you mean. Andy
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 7 months ago
    Andy, starting from the top pics 2 and 4. You mean the front of the keel? Then yes you are correct but if you follow the wing leading edge out to where the side wires connect you will see what I'm talking about. It is difficult to be certain though but from the pics it seems like the sail is ripped or damaged in some way. It's also ripped at the nose in what looks like the rip pattern of degraded sail material
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 7 months ago
    I've looked at another pic on Kathryns report and it shows pretty well the leading edge tube broken in bending and sticking out through the sail material. Looks like impact damage from the left wing hitting the water. From what I can see as well it looks like both wingtips are intact
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    Wexy, everything is worth considering and we're all speculating.

    The only thing I'm confident about is that any time you're in the situation described by the eyewitness ("...aircraft banking to the left. The left bank steepened and the aircraft descended rapidly until impacting..."), there are two powerful tricks in your toolbox for leveling the wing, regardless of the cause - turbulence, tear in the sail, student input, whatever. The implication in the report is that the pilot increased power.

    Most pilots couple an increase in power with a forward push, and both will exacerbate a situation where you cannot roll level. I'm not saying that's what happened here, only that it's a common thing to do both 'wrong' actions together.

    The eyewitness description makes me a whole lot less confident than Paul D that some form of spiral to impact did not happen, regardless of what caused the initial roll. If there was a structural issue that initiated the roll maybe nothing would have been effective, but everyone should at least know what to TRY - power off, pull in.
  • Joe Hockman
    by Joe Hockman 7 months ago
    Sorry about my delayed response as I have been on the road traveling out of state. I believe you Larry on your earlier description of your Rev prototype incident, however I remain unconvinced that this proves that an apparent "lockout" can't be easily corrected on most UL trikes with large wings and low wing loading. My guess is that this mistake of winding in will not happen with UL trike pilots with prior HG training because most (all ??) HG pilots learn how important it is to pull in as part of a coordinated turn. I would also guess that most (all ??) UL trike pilots will know or at the very least quickly learn that any pitch up input in a spiral dive will simply tighten the spiral radius and not assist in exiting a spiral dive.

    I too had a close call incident many years ago in an ATF with Stratus 182 wing where I had to do a very tight turn close to the ground watching my wing tip swinging around about 6" off the grass and I found it very easy to pull out of the tight turn to make it back to the turf strip. My lower wing was at least partially stalled but not fully stalled. Winds were light and there was a negligible gust factor. My simple correction was a roll out of the spiral but I likely also added a little pitch in in my correction. In my case trike weighed about 100 lbs plus my 160 lbs so total pendulum weight of about 260 lbs. I recognize it is inappropriate to extrapolate from one example and generalize in stating this can or can not occur. So I will concede that under certain circumstances a "lockout" may occur with lightly loaded UL wings but those "lockout" situations should be rather easily corrected with correct roll inputs that involve no pitch up inputs. Simultaneous pitch in and roll out inputs or use of the well known J turn input should do the trick very quickly.

    I have flown many UL trikes with a variety of wings and have put most if not all through a variety of maneuvers including steep spiral descents and I don't believe I have experienced what I described above as "lockout" behavior that was not easily correctable. I don't think it is a good idea to take a spiral dive to the point where lower wing is completely stalled even in rather benign conditions and I think it is a big no no to do it in turbulent conditions. Any sorts of gusts or turbulence can tilt the odds against you when in a spiral dive where lower wing is almost completely stalled. Well in any case it certainly sounds as though this particular accident could have involved an uncorrected spiral dive although several other plausible contributing variables have already been suggested.
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 7 months ago
    Joe, we spin hang gliders by rolling against a partially stalled wing. By high-siding the stall without pitching in, billow shift flattens the lower, inside, stalled, wingtip, raising its angle of attack further and exacerbating the stall. The weight shift does not level the stalled wing; it can't because the partially stalled wing isn't developing sufficient lift. A spin is a very dangerous maneuver - I consider a loop to be much safer - because in a spin you're riding right on the ragged edge of a tumble.

    To unstall a wingtip, you really have to pull in to get the angle of attack down, and you need to do this before you can roll level. If you try to roll first, you tend to make a bad situation worse.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    Agreed Joe, but weight just isn't even a factor in my opinion. The physics and aerodynamics don't change with respect to a stalled wing locking out the lateral control bar movement and effect.

    The high speed slip doesnt have anything to do with weight except that weight helps achieve the speed. But a heavy fast trike can and should be designed to self correct the high speed slip within seconds and many are designed not to allow it in the first place.

    Bryans last sentence is so true and worth noting and thinking about why that is true.

    But in my opinion many fatal spirals do not involve lock out.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 7 months ago
    And to clarify, weight vs leading edge stiffness ratio doesn't really change things except speed. So more weight on the same wing DOES affect things. I'm just saying the ratio is the key and not the wing loading causing lock out or spiral instability or stall to react any different.
  • roger larson
    by roger larson 7 months ago
    When the FAA conducts their investigations i know they are really good in figuring out some things but maybe not all. Its easy to see if the engine was running at the time of the crash but how many of the FAA investigators have ever even flown a Trike. My guess is that everyone of you guys have way more experience and knowledge than the FAA investigators. I could be wrong but it is my suspicion. An off the wall example would be this. I was speaking with a medical examiner (you know the guy that does the forensic death investigation) and he told me first hand that if they don't know what actually killed someone, they will classify it as Congestive Heart Failure. So he said that is why so many people die each year from Congestive Heart Failure. I was a little surprised to hear that.

    So since i know nothing i will ask this question. Is it possible that to the untrained or to someone that gets surprised by the moment (adrenaline rush) that certain situations feel like like out...but to someone with your guys experience knowing to pull in with the correct movement doesn't even come close to feeling like it is locked out? So could an instructor put a trike into a configuration with a student and let them feel what the wrong movement feels like and then show them how easy it is to get it out of that "lock out" with the correct movement? I have seen many people freeze when they have an Adrenaline dump and there bodies were "locked out". If it could be trained in some way to "feel a lockout in training", If they do find themselves in that situation for real it would most likely trigger their memory of their training and they would remember to pull in.

    I do enjoy reading everyone's posts and learning from them.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 months ago
    Roger A few of the FAA guys have trike ratings and in fatal accident investigations they almost always involve some subject matter expert both from the engine side as well as category side along with NTSB labs. I would not belittle their investigations easily. I have personally been involved in one way or another on a few and their conclusions are usually closer than most perceived experts who are not directly collecting evidence because NTSB/FAA collect evidence physically but analysis involved SMEs almost always.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 7 months ago
    Joe H: There is no lockout in any trike that I have seen that is not "easily corrected". You just need to know what to do. They are all correctable but if you continue to push the bar out because you are facing down then there are plenty of combinations where it is not easily correctable. So I don't understand your assertion at all. What do you mean when you say lock out. I have not really seen a lock out in the true literal sense of the word. The lock out part is due to what pilot is doing. He has the capacity t correct it if he did the right thing.
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