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Bent Cheetah

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You live and learn. If you live long enough, you learn a lot.


I tried hard to get to Hopetoun yesterday. The forecast said winds easing, and the further west I got, the better it would be. So I took off in 20 knots at Goulburn thinking that if I had to go back there it would be lighter later, and once I got over the mountains I could stay low and minimize the headwinds.


Flew 70 miles along the east side of the ranges from Yass to Adaminaby looking for a way over the unexpected and unforecast low cloud. At times had 50 knots on the nose and only 40 knots ground speed because of turbulence.


Plenty of pretty snow though.


Tracked north again for another look at Yass. Gave up and went back to Goulburn, to find it was now gusting 35 knots. Crashed on landing and broke the Cheetah.


Got a gust on flare, settled it with power, and held off some more - probably a little high, got another gust which stalled it and dropped on solidly - mains first but nose came down hard too. Bounced a little sideways, unbeaded a tyre, snapped the axle on the other, and folded the nosewheel and broke the prop. Not so much as a bumped head in the cockpit.


It rose up on the nose and touched a wingtip, then settled and stopped. 13 metres from first touch to full stop. My shortest landing yet.


Doesn't seem to be any structural damage. The cowl wasn't damaged at all. The undercarriage leg looks undamaged - just rotated slightly at the mount bolts. These are definitely over-engineered aeroplanes. Well done Garry.


I'll have to check the engine for cam and fly-wheel damage of course, but it looks like new nose leg, 1 main wheel axle and mount, new spats all round, new main gear leg mount bolts, bit of sanding and painting on the fibreglass wing tip and structural checks. Maybe a few other things. Be flying again in no time.


Dad was cool. He said he wasn't worried - he's had a good life. Like me, he thought it was under control until the moment it went pear shaped. The first indication he had that there might be a problem was when he saw a wheel rolling down the runway ahead of us.


Lessons for me:


  • Read the weather for yourself. Don't ignore your instincts. Don't trust the forecast completely. 50 knots aloft is an indication that it's not a good day to go flying.
  • Landing in strong gusts, keep the power up to the ground. Don't waffle. Be positive. If it's not exactly how you want it, go around. (People with real experience please feel free to expand on this).




Four cop cars, an ambo and a fire engine were there in no time. Ambo and Firies were called off, but they came anyway for a gecko. We were tempted to say we were injured just to get into the warm ambulance. It was about 4 degrees with a wind-chill temp of about -20C.


Told AirServices that the strip was closed for a while, got the injured cat on a flat-bed and back to the hangar where she now sits a little torn and forlorn.


The cops said they'd treat it like a car accident. They asked who was driving, and how fast I was going.


Lots of great help from others, especially John (10.5) and the guy who was about to leave to go to Shepparton. After what I told him in circuit, he vacated the runway to wait for a chat. Then my 16 point landing convinced him to stay in Goulburn that night.


Four point harnesses rock.



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Oh Ross, Damn it !


I feel your hurt... 051_crying.gif.fe5d15edcc60afab3cc76b2638e7acf3.gif Sounds like you had what I probably dread the most.


A minor(ish) bingle on landing that breaks "the pride and joy", and one's pride for that matter, and the inevitable self questioning of ones ability and decision making.


Good on you for your prompt and candid post. I hope that you can take some consolation from knowing that the writing of your experience here, will prevent the same heartache from occurring to someone else in the future. :thumb_up:




Steven B.



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Guest airsick

I got up yesterday morning and looked out the window thinking it didn't look too bad. After I checked the weather and got the ATIS here in Canberra I changed my mind. Glad I did.


Sorry to hear about the Cheetah. Hopefully it will get better soon.



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Guest Decca

Ross, thanks for the report. I was upset to read about it but very grateful that you & father are OK.


Apart from the shock, embarrassment, disappointment, & expense you went to, it was probably better than doing it in front of 300 spectators judging arrivals at Hopetoun.


Maybe next fly-in I get to meet you personally (& others who could not even leave their fields this morning).


I would like to be able to say I can help repair the damage, but I’m tied to home duties at this time. Hope it all goes smoothly & quickly for you.


Regards, Decca.



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Damm starti, don't be scaring us like that man.. A good lesson for us all though hey, and thanx for shareing it with us..You asked for some input from guys with 'real experiance', that counts me out, im a scaredy puss when it comes to 50 knotters..


Although i have learned (the hard way) not to trust wx reports to much, and now with your description i'll be even more disstrustfull...thanx again and glad your ok..sorry about the pussy though..





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Thanks for your thoughts everyone.


You want blood Kaz? Here you go.




They didn't test me Ben. As I explained to someone else who asked that question, drinking and flying is a self-correcting problem.


I'm happy to share my embarrassment if it can help others, but mainly I want to make sure I've learned everything I can from this. Is there something I've missed?


How about the engine? Any advice on how deep to look at a Jab 2200 after a sudden stop from prop strike?


Thanks again for the support.













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Wow what a day!


Sad to see it looking that way :black_eye:after spending many sittings admiring it on the magazine cover. Strong little plane though hey.


I'm only new at this game but with a prop strike like that I would be pulling the engine down, removing the crankshaft and getting it tested. I'd also be inspecting the crank case around the bearing supports etc. Already heard to many stories where people have taken shortcuts with repairs and sometimes lived to regret it. Then, that's easy for me to say I'm not spending the cash to repair it.





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Sad sight!!!!!


Although it is sad to see your cheetah laying on the field bent:crying: it is great to know you walked away straight. :thumb_up:


Hope the repairs are speedy and you are back in the sky soon.


Well done:clap:



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You did an excellent job of landing it safely Ross! As much as the bent bits hurt you and your dad are far more important.


I looked at your pics and thought "It's no so bad, throw a new undercarriage and prop on"... then I got a lesson from Matt on the finer details of what happens when the undercarriage is ripped off and the prop hit the ground and now I feel... 051_crying.gif.fe5d15edcc60afab3cc76b2638e7acf3.gif


Knowing how much time and effort you spent building the Cheetah, it must make the feelings that bit worse. On an up side - now you know you built a damn tough little plane!


Good luck with the repairs, keep us all updated.



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Guest brentc

Not brillant news and glad that you are ok.


If you check your Jabiru engine manual, there is a specific procedure in there for inspecting your engine after a prop-strike. From memory, it's something like inspecting the propellor flange for 'run-out.' Suggest that someone reputable have a close look for you. Generally in the GA world, it would mean a full bulk strip, but not necessarily for you. I am a little concerned for your engine in that you have cleanly snapped off your prop very close to the hub meaning that you have hit at a relatively high power setting or it's been very close to the bitumen and a medium power setting, so a careful inspection will ne necessary.



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Thanks for that Brent. It wasn't a high power setting, so must have happened when the nose went down and the tail up, and probably in stages - judging by the size of the pieces I found. I forgot that section was in the manual. I'll check it out. I will definitely be getting the assistance of an experienced Jab guy, although I have rebuilt engines before.



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Ross, you know my feelings by our phone call but just wanted to mention in the last photo you have there you can see the sock just about horizontal.


I am coming up to Canberra tomorrow coming back on Wed so if there is anything you need from down here to bring up then let me know.



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Thats a real shame there Slarti but the BIG bonus is that we aren't attending a funeral or two. Am very pleased to hear that you are both ok and able to sip a cleansing ale 011_clap.gif.c796ec930025ef6b94efb6b089d30b16.gif:thumb_up:.....(for medicinal purposes only of course 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif).


I remember reading an article somewhere in the not to distant past about prop strikes and wooden propellors.


The general tone of the article was that the wood propellor became sacraficial and protected the crank to some degree.


Different story for carbon fibre and/or metal prop though...


Hope you're flying again soon...:thumb_up:







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Guest sypkens

Commiserations Slarti but happy you did not become a statistic! I am also amazed at the structural strenght of the cheetah.



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Guest Baphomet

Give Jabiru a call, there are a couple of reported cases of broken crankshafts in the latest RAA mag, one of which was after a prop strike-new-prop-go flying. Checking for run-out may not be enough.



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Guest David C

Just popped in after a few days away on business and see this news ... The main thing and only important thing is that you are safe and well . The aircraft will be fixed and as good as new again soon . Such a relief to know you are ok ... All the best mate .


Dave C



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drinking and flying is a self-correcting problem.

Sort of like the Darwin Awards, really.


The only downside is the loss of fine aircraft.... you could say... I guess... then, okay, maybe not.. 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif


I don't think you missed much in the report.


With the propstrike, my unqualified feeling is that the wood prop would reduce the engine damage, but I would be getting the engine fully checked, especially the crank, along with all engine mounts and brackets.





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