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Forced-landing


Guest Darren Masters
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Guest Darren Masters

Unfortunately the day before yesterday (Sunday 22nd) I had to make a forced-landing with my little machine ZK-FEQ at Te Kowhai Airfield. I was climbing through about 200' when my belts slipped (a problem I have had before so I replaced all the belts and re-tensioned them prior to this incident). Unfortunately this time pulling the throttle back slightly and trying to increase it again had no results. I had no power and was trying to climb. Obviously all the training that I had way back kicked-in and I lowered the nose, got some of that precious airspeed back. It all happened so fast. I remember the end of runway 05 and looking at that fence. At 200 feet in a rag and tube machine with no power you don't have many options. The fence was coming up as was the ground at an unbelievable rate of knots. They say your life flashes before you. Mine did not. My flying training, however did. All those engine failure after take-off practices came as clear as daylight in my head. I got some speed back, flew the plane and cleared the fence. Came down with a thud in the field on the other side but none the less I'm still here. I owe being here today to my old flying instructor Frances Dalton way back in 1997. If it was not for her and the EFATO practice we had conducted time and time again I probably would not be here. I was not going to post this on here as none of us want this to happen to us. I have posted it because I want others to learn and keep in their minds everything that is passed on to them during their flying training. I'm not 'blowing my own trumpet' but believe you me I am proud of myself for:

 

i) Flying the plane

 

ii) NEVER at any point EVER did I think of turning back.

 

It's flying the plane and keeping it tracking straight ahead that is the reason I'm here today. I was fully aware of the fence, I made a split-second decision that going straight-ahead was the best option. The day after my incident (yesterday) I had some very mixed emotions. I wondered why I was still here truth be told. Was it my time the other day? I don't know but what I do know was that it was a traumatic experience. I sat there yesterday and thought about it the whole day. I felt happy to be alive. Happy to feel the sunshine and breathe the air but at the same time sad for what had happened. My little plane is ok. Obviously it's going to get a full check. My back was a little worse for wear yesterday (but much better today). I was very thankful for the Readman family (all aviators themselves) that witnessed the whole event and made sure that I was safe by letting me stay at their house, cooking me dinner and making sure I had a proper breakfast before driving back to Auckland the next morning. It was obvious to them that I was in a state of shock. Anyway, I'll sit here and ponder the incident no doubt in the days to come. Below is a photo of some happy locals that had a little plane come down in their paddock. Happy because I could share a beer with them afterwards.

 

 

 

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Guest Darren Masters

Further, now looking at replacing all the pulleys which is where the core of the problem is. They are warn and the belts are not getting the surface coverage that they should be. Ultimately I'd like to get a gearbox config for this but not sure of the way to go as it is in tractor config already (drive forward, prop is pusher).

 

 

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So glad it went well Darren. Sounds to me like you were on it 110%. Try not to loose too much sleep over it & just put it down to another learning experience. These things make you a better pilot & welcome to the "club"

 

 

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Guest David C

What a relief Darren to know that you are OK .. As Dex said , it will make you a better pilot .. I've only ever had the fan stop on me once , that was in a Jab and on short finals ... I knew I would reach the field , and make a landing , but even that in seeing the fan stationary is quite a heart stopping moment .. You did all the right things and made a text book landing .. well done mate ...many others have not had that presence of mind and we all know what that can mean .. Best regards ..

 

Dave C

 

 

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Glad it all turned out ok mate, one way to get your adrenalin jolt for the year though! Amazing how what was drilled into you does come back when it's needed. Well done!

 

Dex has good advice having been through something similar, albeit with a less favourable outcome for his plane. Take a couple of deep breaths, be thankful for the positive outcome and move right along - nothing good ever came of getting to mired down with the what ifs and second guessing yourself, especially in a pastime like ours.

 

 

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Guest aviatrix27

Dirrun! So glad you're ok buddy. It's amazing how our old instructors scream in our heads when things aren't going the way they should - at least the good instructors. Don't worry, it wasn't meant to be your time, when your number is up there's nothing you can do about it. I reckon you'll be around for a long time yet :)

 

 

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the training is all in there, I had a partial loss of power leaving 23 at temora over easter ,I called an emergency and had about 900agl ,enough to get around to 36 ,turns out the eurofox has can drop fuel pressure if you switch off the boost pump in the climb, I had an instructor tell me a few years back "when the engine stops your day is now F**ked so don't screw around worrying about it fly the damn aircraft ", good to hear it worked out for you!

 

 

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thanks for sharing your experience with all the members (and numerous visiters)....it's a case of 'those that have (had an engine failure) and those that are yet to experience it!

 

I still hear the words uttered by various instructors over the years when I encounter a challenge...I'm glad u did too!

 

nicely handled Darren.

 

 

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It's surprising how quickly you start thinking clearly and go back to the training. Good work!

 

You didn't start thinking "I'm THE man who can pull off something better than just landing straight ahead."

 

Most walk away from a bit of a bent machine doing what they were trained to do.

 

 

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Reminds me of an occasion where my instructors words came rushing back.

 

It wasn't long after I was allowed to carry pax, and I had my uncle, brother-in-law and a brother in a Musketeer (the big one, and I was a lot lighter in those days), and we were on final for rwy 35 at Moorabbin. It had been a good flight and the approach was pretty much spot on, when at about 300 ft, the lift cable broke and we dropped quite suddenly. My passengers looked like they had seen a ghost, but I remembered my instructor one day bashing the back of my hand on the throttle till it hit the stop. He said, "Don't try and save a botched approach, get out of there and come back for another try." I did exactly what he said, did another circuit to gather my nerves, and made a perfect landing. However, I don't think my passengers flew in a light aicraft again.

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

Glad to hear the end result went your way mate, what's more interesting is that we shared the same Instructor, Frances sent me solo on my 16th Birthday in 1999!!!!

 

I wonder where she is and what she is doing now, she was great!

 

Here she is... explains why I always felt cool, calm and collected when flying with her.

 

http://francesdalton.com.au/about.html

 

 

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Guest Darren Masters
Glad to hear the end result went your way mate, what's more interesting is that we shared the same Instructor, Frances sent me solo on my 16th Birthday in 1999!!!!I wonder where she is and what she is doing now, she was great!

Here she is... explains why I always felt cool, calm and collected when flying with her.

 

http://francesdalton.com.au/about.html

Mate, was just going to tell you that I spoke with her on the phone not long ago and that's what she is doing now :) She was brilliant, had a real good technique. Mate, you would have flown IAD for sure then? My favourite Tomahawk. Oh the memories...Frances does not fly any more but she is looking at getting back into it.

 

 

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Of course at 200 AGL you are not going to turn back unless you are in a high performance competition glider...

 

But I an not a big fan of the "never ever turn back (below 1000) and never more than a 15 degree bank" doctrine either. To turn back or not depends on many factors. Way too many for any student to deal with so it is a good thing to teach at that stage, but more experienced pilots that know the particular type they are flying well, can. I can turn my SportStar around on a dime with a loss of 250-300 feet. So faced with an EFATO upwind of Gawler's runway 05 and my altimeter at or above 500 AGL, I know where I am going! (check Google earth to understand why) My biggest issue will be losing enough height after the turn to not overshoot the runway.

 

Everybody should practise this in their aircraft, at altitude of course! And the tightest, minimum loss turn will be a steep turn with flaps out. Remember at 2G your stall speed increases by a factor of 1.4, so keep above it.

 

No good killing yourself in trees or on wires just because decades ago when you barely knew how to control and aircraft and instructor told you not to turn back...

 

 

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Guest Darren Masters
Of course at 200 AGL you are not going to turn back unless you are in a high performance competition glider...But I an not a big fan of the "never ever turn back (below 1000) and never more than a 15 degree bank" doctrine either. To turn back or not depends on many factors. Way too many for any student to deal with so it is a good thing to teach at that stage, but more experienced pilots that know the particular type they are flying well, can. I can turn my SportStar around on a dime with a loss of 250-300 feet. So faced with an EFATO upwind of Gawler's runway 05 and my altimeter at or above 500 AGL, I know where I am going! (check Google earth to understand why) My biggest issue will be losing enough height after the turn to not overshoot the runway.

 

Everybody should practise this in their aircraft, at altitude of course! And the tightest, minimum loss turn will be a steep turn with flaps out. Remember at 2G your stall speed increases by a factor of 1.4, so keep above it.

 

No good killing yourself in trees or on wires just because decades ago when you barely knew how to control and aircraft and instructor told you not to turn back...

Here is a classic example of turning back (and I know this case personally). This was a high-performance machine at significant height. The sad truth is that even at 200' turning back does enter people's minds.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/04/05/1143916577406.html?from=rss%5D

 

 

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Unfortunately, not an atypical situation for a Lancair. High wing loading and very unforgiving in a stall, especially if you are already at a high bank angle. Like my very experienced friend says: if you pull an RV7 around, just release some back pressure if it starts to buffet, it won't do anything nasty. By the time you hit that buffet in a Lancair, you are dead.

 

It doesn't matter how experienced you are; unless you have practiced this manoeuvre in the actual aircraft you are flying, don't do it.

 

In the SportStar, a descending turn stall is a non-event. Other that an obviously increased rate of descent, it will not enter a spin or even drop a wing.

 

 

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Guest Darren Masters
Unfortunately, not an atypical situation for a Lancair. High wing loading and very unforgiving in a stall, especially if you are already at a high bank angle. Like my very experienced friend says: if you pull an RV7 around, just release some back pressure if it starts to buffet, it won't do anything nasty. By the time you hit that buffet in a Lancair, you are dead.It doesn't matter how experienced you are; unless you have practiced this manoeuvre in the actual aircraft you are flying, don't do it.

 

In the SportStar, a descending turn stall is a non-event. Other that an obviously increased rate of descent, it will not enter a spin or even drop a wing.

Indeed re the Lancair. I once thought of buying one and many pilots said "You'll kill yourself". Not not necessarily but the stall speed of what, 65 kts does not help!

 

 

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The same friend IS thinking of buying one, possibly even a turboprop version. And yes, I'd get to fly it, most likely solo one day, but I wouldn't do it without a LOT of dual. Good thing the friend is an instructor and there are plenty of places we'd like to fly the thing together anyway.

 

Apparently, they are great fun to throw around the sky at altitude. Especially with some speed on, they are quite forgiving. Get closer to the ground and you should fly it like you would a PC-12, King Air, or that kind of aircraft. No room for tight circuits and steep approaches. It will bite.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good to hear you did the right thing Darren and got out of it. Was there any damage other than the belts not being right?

 

I've had the one forced out-landing about 10 years ago and almost another one a few years ago. It's not fun, that's for sure, especially when it's random and not your fault.

 

 

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Guest Darren Masters
Good to hear you did the right thing Darren and got out of it. Was there any damage other than the belts not being right?I've had the one forced out-landing about 10 years ago and almost another one a few years ago. It's not fun, that's for sure, especially when it's random and not your fault.

Just to the ego ;) (thankfully).

 

 

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