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Minor "Fenderbender" at Otherton. . . .


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`I report on the sad death of a nice looking trike last weekend,. . . . the pilot ( 70 hrs total - restricted - no cross country test completed ) had been circuiting for about an hour with yours truly on air/ground radio duty, when the aircraft was observed to land an run on the ground for about 20 metres, then suddenly flip onto it's left side ending up rather bent. . . The attached pics were taken after the pilot was exrticated from the machine, and the trike was tipped upright.

 

The pilot said he was drifting off the grass strip "A bit" towards the deep grass on the left side and applied too much left boot on the trike steering to try and regain runway track. . . - which, for you three axis people, is rather like steering a child's bike with your feet on the handlebars, ie,. . . .push left, . . . .go right and V/V.

 

Anway, . . in the event he over - booted the steering causing the trike pod to tip onto it's left side and the wing to dig in to the ground in a couple of places. The machine is basically written off, as most of the ally tubes are bent, and the wing has the main longitudinal keel fractured in two places and the leading edge tubes also broken and severely deformed.

 

He had purchased the machine for around £2,500.00 ( dunno what that is in $Abucks these days. . . ? ) and his insurance company refused to give him any cover except third party liability. . .

 

Engine was Rotax 503 single carb with three blade timber prop, all blades having struck the grass and show signs of splintering. Shock loading of the crank is a distinct possibility, but that's something which could only be checked by bench testing it,. . . those cranks are pressed together, and can slip when shock loaded.

 

Fortunately, the pilot was completely uninjured, he can be seen at the front of the aircraft taking some pics for the family album ( ! ) he says that he is now going to give up flexwings and concentrate on training for three axis flying. . . . oh, by the way, he hadn't flown for over four months and was very tired due to a heavy workload in his business, together with lack of sleep due to a new arrival in his family. . . . .

 

( I'm not making any judgement here nor intimating blameology . . .just reporting what was said. . .)

 

He had forgotten also to turn on his radio so that I was unable to let him know that the CFI had changed the duty runway due to the shift in suface wind. . . . .

 

However,. . .what does the team think ?

 

The bottom picture of the grinning ghouls shows how concerned the observers / rescuers were, AFTER they had discovered that the pilot was uninjured. . . . . It's interesting to note that all of the ghouls are THREE AXIS PILOTS ! even George Davis ( right of group) who is our D-Day veteran, at 86 yrs old, he still flies an MW6 aircraft. I'm sure another trike pilot on the scene would have been somewhat more morose. . . .

 

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Phil, I assume that the pilot was in the process of a touch and go, what would the speed likely to be at the time?

 

I didn't realise that trikes had go kart steering ie push left to go right, as well as the pitch being the opposite to 3 axis, it would be very easy for a 3 axis pilot to stuff up in a trike if suddenly under pressure especially when transitioning types. (Would have been a bit scary with the noisy fan thing pushing him into the dirt)

 

 

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Hi Paul. . NO, due to an archaic rule from the landowner, we are not allowed touch and go landing practice. The Mainair Flash 2 Alpha is a well loved machine which is very benign to fly, it does tend to float a little if the landing speed is a couple of mph fast, and the usual safe landing speed in still conditions could be as little as 46 - 47 mph but obviously somewhat more in anything approaching gusty conditions.

 

In this instance the pilot had been using the same runway for an hour or so, but on the previous five approaches he had failed to get the aircraft down low enough to attempt a landing. This was because the wind had picked up in the opposing direction and he hadn't noticed. ( Radio not switched on. . .) So he was effectively trying to land with a 5/6 mph tailwind. So, long answer to short question Paul,. . . I would put the GROUNDSPEED at the point he rolled it over as approx 35 mph or 60 kph 'ish which meant he did not have to over - correct the steering that much to produce the result. When I converted onto trikes in 1984, the steering thing used to terrify me ! ! ! ! I used to lock my feet solid until the speed of travel on the ground had decayed to walking pace before trying to steer ! ! But after a while of using both disciplines, you find that it's rather like cars and bikes, you just do what you have to and it seems second nature. Phil

 

 

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Are there any wind socks at this strip Phil, part of the reason for doing circuits is so you can observe the wind sock, determine the wind direction, then decided which runway to use. And land into the wind. Pretty basic really. Or do you have to land down wind back in England because of the Corriolis effect? 075_amazon.gif.0882093f126abdba732f442cccc04585.gif

 

 

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Are there any wind socks at this strip Phil, part of the reason for doing circuits is so you can observe the wind sock, determine the wind direction, then decided which runway to use. And land into the wind. Pretty basic really. Or do you have to land down wind back in England because of the Corriolis effect? 075_amazon.gif.0882093f126abdba732f442cccc04585.gif

Har Har . . . . Gee, is that right about windsocks ?? we'll have to get one. . . . .

 

We actuall have Northside and Southside socks, these are approx 4 metres in length and fabric weight calibrated to be horizontal at and above 15 Kt. However, such is the weird microclimate we get here in the summer months, these two socks are often observed indicating quite different directions. . .? I reckon the flying club must have bought them from different shops. . . . . .

 

I spoke to Matt ( the pilot of the Alpha ) a couple of hours ago, and he told me that the shock didn't kick in until he had been at home for a couple of hours, he seemed fine just after the incident, funny thing shock,. . .affects people in different ways. . . . . .ANYWAY, he told me that in the week prior to the accident flight, he'd been doing 12 hour shifts at work, and also that his wife had just produced their first child two weeks ago, resuling in much interrupted sleep ! ! ! and he was fairly tired on the day and should not have been flying at all.

 

It's nice to hear a pilot admit he got it all wrong, rather than blaming it on conditions and everything else.

 

Anyway my mate Adrian has offered him a complete Alpha trike for NOTHING,with a serviceable Rotax 503 enginr,. . . and one of the flying instructors "Mad Mike" at Otherton, said he's got a perfectly good Alpha wing which survived a heavy landing a few months ago whereas the trike unit didn't. . . . so Matt could well be flying again soon, for very little expense. . . but I gather he's thinking about going three axis. I suggested that he gets abit more sleep first.

 

Yes Ian, we have socks, AND volunteer air / ground radio blokes for added safety. . . . . it usually works, but not always. We have a quite a body of Microlight pilots in the UK who are really resistant to the use of radio in their aircraft. . . . . ? No, I can't understand that way of thinking either. One chap said to me recently, the "Bloody" radio has spoiled this pastime,. . .too much regulation . . ."

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

On the F27 Nev, I've never flown one, but I'll take your word for it. My best "Downwinder Downunder" was a C 210 ( VH IWK ) from casey airfield which I landed "Down the sock" at Mildura one breezy day, and even the tyres squealing and protesting like hell still didn't wake Phil up. . . . I remember thinking Christ, it doesn't want to land. . . . .! I only noticed it when taxying in ! ! ! Good job it was a bomber runway . . Phil

 

 

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