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Cirrus VH-CHS incident from June 2013


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A Cirrus pilot may have been confident that he could land safely on a private rural airstrip on a dark moonless night, with help from the headlights of a relative's car pointed at the runway, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in its final report (PDF) last week, but the flight ended in a fatal crash. The SR22 was on final approach to the unpaved strip, in Boxwood, Victoria, on June 27, 2013, when it hit a tree, and the pilot, who was alone on board, was killed. Several other airports with lit runways were available nearby, the ATSB said. "Likely influencing the pilot was a degree of self-imposed pressure to get home after a series of business commitments and prior to a one-month period away from home," the ATSB said.

 

The pilot called the relative on a cellphone to ask for the headlight approach aid, and stayed on the phone during the approach. The car was parked at the far end of the runway, with the headlights pointed down the centerline. On final approach, the relative warned the pilot over the phone that the aircraft's landing light seemed to be getting too close to the trees, but got no response. "The pilot appeared to continue the approach until the aircraft collided with a tree adjacent to the airstrip," according to the ATSB. The pilot had landed at Boxwood before, but always in daylight. The aircraft was destroyed.

 

 

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Bear in mind this guy's qualifications were:

 

Commercial Pilot

 

Valid Command Instrument Rating

 

Valid Class 1 Medical

 

633 hours including 101 hours of night flying

 

59 flying hours in last 90 days

 

 

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Slightly off-topic question, but wouldn't it be better to position the car so that it's light were shining down the runway, rather then from the opposite end possibly blinding the pilot?

 

I seem to remember seeing some info-graphic for providing runway lighting with car lights by positioning multiple cars on either side of the runway at about 45 deg to the runway directed so that their lights would go down along the runway.

 

It wasn't a normal procedure in any way (I think it might have been at one of the outback police stations), for emergency situations only.

 

 

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Slightly off-topic question, but wouldn't it be better to position the car so that it's light were shining down the runway, rather then from the opposite end possibly blinding the pilot?I seem to remember seeing some info-graphic for providing runway lighting with car lights by positioning multiple cars on either side of the runway at about 45 deg to the runway directed so that their lights would go down along the runway.

It wasn't a normal procedure in any way (I think it might have been at one of the outback police stations), for emergency situations only.

I've always wondered about positioning a car facing you, but from memory Clyde Fenton, Australia's original flying doctor who frequently landed in moonlight used to do this.

 

If the car is facing away from you, you have its headlight beams as a ruler but it gets darker as you touch down.

 

If the car is facing towards you, you have a marker for the other end of the strip and it gets lighter after you touch down and roll out, but unless you come in high or are able to fly a normal approach circuit, where in both cases the headlight beams show the direction of runway, you can be approaching too far to the left or right, and there is little light to silhouette obstacles.

 

 

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In pioneering times they did lots of things as Turbs suggested, but these days if I had to land by car light I would consider that to be an emergency situation, not one to plan for.

 

 

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It's all just silliness. A totally avoidable tragedy for the family. Just what are(were) some of these (deceased) people thinking about when making such life altering decisions?................................. Then, we that survive go on to hear how bad "our" behavior is..............It shits me to tears

 

 

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Many years ago, a bloke I know used to routinely land using car headlights as his lighting at YMIG, (when his was the only aircraft using the strip, for years before and after) in the winter months.

 

HOWEVER: firstly, flying from YMIG was his daily commute to/from work, he'd done it a vast number of times. He knew where every damn tree was on the way in, from rote memory. Secondly, an Auster comes in steep and slow - especially if flown by someone who spends his weekends as a glider tug pilot and does maybe 20-30 landings in a day - several hundred (plus on average, 8-10 per week for the daily commute) in a year.

 

He's well over 70 years old now, and has never had a crash. Forced landings? - yes. Broken aircraft/injuries? - nil. Old and Bold? - absolutely not - and he's been a CASA certified test pilot. for maybe 30 years now

 

Would he try that in a Cirrus? - well, I think no - in fact, you'd probably find it hard to get him INTO a Cirrus in any circumstances other than with all spark plugs removed - they're about second only to a Lancair 320/340/360 as stupidly dangerous aircraft (assuming one accepts that the published statistics of fatal crashes are not a conspiracy theory).

 

So, a blanket statement of: 'landing using car headlights is stupid' is simplistic - but a good guideline if one does not have both the aircraft and the expertise to make it safe. Sadly, this was a case where probably BOTH of those criteria were not present.

 

 

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so turbs his hrs and qualification excuse him from being totally to blame for stupid behaviour

 

so landing into head lights of a car I how cool you are totally wrong

 

having been at a night landing of a flying doc plane up north at an unlit strip no lights were in the direction of the plane all lights were shone in direction of travel of plane

 

also on the nullabore

 

as I said in a previous thread this pilot needed an inoculation for get home ites but its to late now the people he leaves behind are paying for his stupidity

 

the linking together off planes that are off different flight envelopes is ridiculous neil

 

 

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I have landed on car headlights when I was young and foolish. Crossed headlights on the threshold and a single car pointing toward me at the far end as per standard method. This was at Scone, dark as a dogs guts, due to poor flight planning. Once the landing light illuminated the runway it was easy to round out and land normally. I have never tried it again, you only get one chance at each stupid mistake.

 

 

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The vehicle’s headlights were intended to illuminate the upwind end of the strip, facing the oncoming aircraft.

 

please show me where it says gps waypoint was mentioned

 

What happened

 

On 27 June 2013, a Cirrus SR22 aircraft, registered VH-CKS, collided with a tree that was adjacent to the private airstrip at Boxwood, Victoria. The pilot of the aircraft was attempting to land on the unlit airstrip after last light. As a result of the collision, the pilot lost control and the aircraft continued for a short distance before impacting terrain inverted. The pilot was fatally injured and the aircraft destroyed

 

What the ATSB found

 

The pilot was appropriately licensed to operate the visual flight rules category aircraft at night and had passed a number of airports in the vicinity, all of which were appropriate for a night landing. However, consistent with a degree of self-imposed pressure to get home after a series of business commitments and prior to a1-month period away from home, the pilot bypassed these airports and continued to their property airstrip. This airstrip did not meet the physical, lighting and obstacle clearance requirements for night operations.

 

The final approach to land was made after last light, with a family member positioned in a motor vehicle ‘at the end of the strip’. The vehicle’s headlights were intended to illuminate the upwind end of the strip, facing the oncoming aircraft. However, this lighting was inadequate and provided insufficient guidance for the approach and landing. This increased the risk of a collision with terrain.

 

Safety message

 

Night landings at inadequately lit airstrips are inherently dangerous and increase the risk of a collision with terrain. The requirements for the conduct of operations at night, including lighting, pilot qualifications, aircraft equipment and systems and aerodrome equipment are intended to reduce this risk.

 

It is likely that, had these risk controls been given effect, this accident would not have happened.

 

you cannot land straight at head lights off a single car without a reference point as to the end off strip for touch down that is why in my case up north five cars were used the end was marked with a cars hazard light all cars at touch down were using hazard lights and head lights

 

nullarbore was the same but using truck lights now that is a lot off day light

 

 

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This is where the gps waypoints are mentioned in the ATSB report

 

(ATSB – AO-2013-104 Final 30th June 2014 - p4-5):

 

 

 

Recorded electronic data

 

The MFD had a compact flash card and the PFD two non-volatile memory chips that recorded engine and flight information, including data from the flight to Boxwood that night. Data was downloaded from those devices with assistance from the United States National Transportation Safety Board.

 

The recovered flight information included the aircraft’s speed, track, altitude and a number of engine parameters. The flight data also included a number of waypoints, including one on the extended runway centre-line about 4 NM (7 km) east of the airstrip, and another about two thirds along the runway (Figure 3).

 

The recorded data showed that at 1806:08 the aircraft was at 1,600 ft above mean sea level on a northerly heading on what appeared to be a base leg. The aircraft was then turned onto about 267° for the final leg of the approach. The aircraft was flown through the 4 NM (7 km) waypoint before the turn, which positioned it to the north of the extended centre–line. This required a number of heading corrections by the pilot to regain track to the final waypoint. The aircraft maintained a steady descent path and airspeed of 93 kt toward the last waypoint.

 

At 1808:01, all recordings ceased, indicating the likely time of impact.

 

2135247284_fig3.jpg.833664aae6b799ef8daccd12f89faa63.jpg

 

 

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so turbs his hrs and qualification excuse him from being totally to blame for stupid behaviourso landing into head lights of a car I how cool you are totally wrong

1. My point about his qualifications was that if this can happen to someone so experienced, it's not a good thing for a 30 hour pilot to try.

 

2. There's no way I would try to land into a single set of headlights because while you have a pinpoint for the end of the runway, you have no reference point for where the start is, and how far to the left or right you are.

 

 

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