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Accident in Johnson County Kansas Mooney M20 S


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If the seat slid back the pilot would instinctively try to stop the travel by pulling on the yoke. (don't ask how I know this)

it would not matter where the trim was set. 

Unless there was a co-pilot to take over control and the pilot let go of the yoke this is exactly the outcome to expect.

Did the report mention anything about the pilot seat location ? 

What about the trim setting ? 

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13 minutes ago, Cruiser said:

If the seat slid back the pilot would instinctively try to stop the travel by pulling on the yoke. (don't ask how I know this)

This is why my right hand is on the center bar above the glare shield on take off. It's very unlikely that my throttle/prop/mixture vernier controls will move by themselves, or quickly in any case. And there will be lots of indicators if they do start to move at all. But the seat letting go, would be an instant event.

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3 hours ago, gsxrpilot said:

This is why my right hand is on the center bar above the glare shield on take off. It's very unlikely that my throttle/prop/mixture vernier controls will move by themselves, or quickly in any case. And there will be lots of indicators if they do start to move at all. But the seat letting go, would be an instant event.

 

:rolleyes:

The reason to have your hand on the throttle is as much to be able to quickly pull it to abort a takeoff as to prevent it from sliding.

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5 minutes ago, 201er said:

 

:rolleyes:

The reason to have your hand on the throttle is as much to be able to quickly pull it to abort a takeoff as to prevent it from sliding.

Yep, got that. I've got my hand on the throttle until rotation when I move it to the center bar. I can still chop the power in about 1 second if I need to. But it's less likely (still within the realm of possibility), I'll be aborting once reaching V1 ;)

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I've wondered about some sort of strap that you would loop around your hand and around the throttle - as part of your pre-takeoff checklist, you put your hand through the strap, and if your seat goes rocketing back, your arm automatically retards the throttle.  Has someone already made one of these?

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If the seat slid back the pilot would instinctively try to stop the travel by pulling on the yoke. (don't ask how I know this)
it would not matter where the trim was set. 
Unless there was a co-pilot to take over control and the pilot let go of the yoke this is exactly the outcome to expect.
Did the report mention anything about the pilot seat location ? 
What about the trim setting ? 

In my case I just let go, but it wasn’t the seat slipping in the track, but the seat back cam slipping from most vertical position to most reclined.
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23 minutes ago, toto said:

I've wondered about some sort of strap that you would loop around your hand and around the throttle - as part of your pre-takeoff checklist, you put your hand through the strap, and if your seat goes rocketing back, your arm automatically retards the throttle.  Has someone already made one of these?

So now you're at 300 ft AGL in a climb attitude, power at idle, and out of reach of the controls (quite possibly still holding the throttle in your hand that is no longer connected to the airplane). That sounds pretty terrible as well.

A lot of pilots have flown with me including a DPE (I did this during my Commercial check ride) and no one has found any negative issues or problem with holding the center bar during the steepest part of the takeoff.

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10 minutes ago, gsxrpilot said:

So now you're at 300 ft AGL in a climb attitude, power at idle, and out of reach of the controls (quite possibly still holding the throttle in your hand that is no longer connected to the airplane). That sounds pretty terrible as well.

A lot of pilots have flown with me including a DPE (I did this during my Commercial check ride) and no one has found any negative issues or problem with holding the center bar during the steepest part of the takeoff.

Is 300ft more likely?  Or is initial takeoff roll more likely?  (I have no idea.) If your seat is going to fly back when you advance power, then pulling the throttle means you slow to a stop on the runway (or roll into the grass, or hit a runway light, whatever).  That seems better than getting airborne.  But you're clearly right - if this happens at 300' then it's going to be unpleasant.

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32 minutes ago, toto said:

Is 300ft more likely?  Or is initial takeoff roll more likely?  (I have no idea.) If your seat is going to fly back when you advance power, then pulling the throttle means you slow to a stop on the runway (or roll into the grass, or hit a runway light, whatever).  That seems better than getting airborne.  But you're clearly right - if this happens at 300' then it's going to be unpleasant.

Yeah, my thought is that if the seat broke loose while I'm rolling down the runway, it's not nearly such a problem. It might not even slide all the way back. I don't need to manage pitch attitude. And I can probably get back to the throttle, or mixture, and get it slowed down and maybe even stopped. The worst case scenario is I run off the runway and wreck the plane. 

But from rotation to pattern altitude is to me, the critical time. With a hand on the yoke, the natural split second reaction will be to stop your fall to the back, with that hand. That would immediately create a pitch up, departure stall, and spin back into the ground. With my right hand on the center bar, that becomes the default reaction, save myself from falling backward, hand. I can hold myself with that hand long enough to push the yoke forward, reduce the angle of climb, trim down, reduce power, or ask my right seater to take over. Whatever happens, it won't involve me pulling hard back on the yoke at an already critical angle of attack. 

So what's the alternative? What am I missing by not having a hand on the throttle once rotating for take-off? Any scenario I can think of from blown engine oil on the windshield, engine fire, airplane coming the other direction, airplane crossing  on intersecting runway, etc, etc,... all would be best handled by immediate and quick control inputs but slower more deliberate power changes. Once flying, it would be yoke first, throttle second. So moving my right hand quickly from the center bar to the throttle/prop/mixture, is still not a problem. 

I'm not saying I have it definitively figured out, but several CFI's a few high time ATP's and a very experienced DPE haven't been able to find a flaw in the logic yet.

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26 minutes ago, gsxrpilot said:

But from rotation to pattern altitude is to me, the critical time. With a hand on the yoke, the natural split second reaction will be to stop your fall to the back, with that hand. That

Having started out with gliders and J3 cub with fixed seats and a hand on the throttle (or spoilers) during takeoff and landing, something about your technique just doesn’t jive with me.

What are you holding onto during final and/or go-around? Where’s your hand on a formation takeoff, particularly if you’re on wing??

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38 minutes ago, 201er said:

Having started out with gliders and J3 cub with fixed seats and a hand on the throttle (or spoilers) during takeoff and landing, something about your technique just doesn’t jive with me.

What are you holding onto during final and/or go-around? Where’s your hand on a formation takeoff, particularly if you’re on wing??

Yeah, I know. ALL of us were trained to have our hands on the throttle during take-offs. But when trying to pin down a reason where a hand on the center post would be catastrophic, I can't find one. There are obvious times when a hand on the throttle is critical. Practicing stalls and slow flight comes to mind. Also when flying in formation. 

Flying final doesn't apply. My hand is on the throttle, but there's no pressure on the seat pins and if it did break loose, it wouldn't go backwards. During a go-around scenario, my hand is already on the throttle as we're landing, smoothly apply power and then reach for the center bar.  

Other than "its the way I was trained" or "it's the way it's always been done" I can't find a compelling reason to continue the practice.

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11 minutes ago, bluehighwayflyer said:

Paul, Have you thought about sticking something like an appropriately-sized plastic cooler on the floor behind your seat that would act as a stop if your seat was to let go?   I know from your prior posts that you usually fly with your rear seat cushions removed, so it shouldn’t be in the way of anything and might even come in handy sometimes.  

Just a thought.  I was trained to keep my hand on the throttle during takeoff, too.  I’m tall enough that this isn’t an issue at all for me in the C, but I understand where you are coming from.  

Good point, and yes I have thought about that. But a couple of things come to mind. In an emergency exit situation, I want to be able to slide my seat back quickly as it's MUCH easier to exit the plane. Secondly once in cruise, I like to have my seat back a few notches for comfort. 

The time duration of this exercise is so short, probably less than 60 seconds, that it just doesn't seem worth the bother to try something more complicated like placing a block of some sort behind the seat... after getting in the seat, and then to remove it before exiting the seat.

I'm not advocating flying around all the time with one hand on the center bar. But for a brief few seconds, I'm in a situation where the angle of attack is high, and if the seat let go at that instance, a hard pull on the yoke could be quickly fatal. There is nothing that I can think of in those same few seconds that could possibly happen, where the extra second it takes to drop my hand back to the throttle/prop/mixture, is in any way even slightly dangerous or problematic. 

I like to think of myself as a very calm pilot and that I'll never panic or lose my head and do something dangerous in the cockpit. But there is a virtually autonomous human response to the sensation of falling backward. And if it takes me a full second to overcome that autonomous response, it could be too late to correct the resulting stall/spin, and compounded by the fact I'm now sitting in the back seat and in no position to easily correct the condition anyway. 

So it's a simple thing, just a few seconds, and a whole lot of peace of mind.

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1 hour ago, gsxrpilot said:

Other than "its the way I was trained" or "it's the way it's always been done" I can't find a compelling reason to continue the practice.

SOP

Having a bunch of ifs, ands, and buts can complicate things. If you pop your hand off the throttle and reach for the center bar out of routine and habit while flying wing during a formation flight, that can be critical. You haven't convinced me.

Unusual procedures should not serve as a band aid for proper maintenance and checklist procedures. Maintain the seats properly. Check that it is locked before flight. Keep your hand on the controls and focus on flying. Those are my priorities.

Be careful about that lousy seatback too.

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1 hour ago, 201er said:

SOP

Having a bunch of ifs, ands, and buts can complicate things. If you pop your hand off the throttle and reach for the center bar out of routine and habit while flying wing during a formation flight, that can be critical. You haven't convinced me.

Unusual procedures should not serve as a band aid for proper maintenance and checklist procedures. Maintain the seats properly. Check that it is locked before flight. Keep your hand on the controls and focus on flying. Those are my priorities.

Be careful about that lousy seatback too.

Good points all. But I don't do anything in my airplane out of routine or because it's SOP. So for me it's not an unusual procedure. Everything I do is on condition and as needed. 

I'm not suggesting this is for everyone... but it works for me.

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When Cessna had the seat sliding ADs, one of the solutions was an inertial reel strap mounted to the seat structure with the strap end attached to the floor structure.  Looked much like an inertial reel shoulder harness, just doing the opposite job.  Cessna even paid for them for some time.  Under normal operation, the seat slides back like there is nothing there.  Under accelerated loads, it prevents the seat from sliding.  My friend has one in her 177 and  it seems to be an elegant solution to the problem.  Can’t find the manufacturer now and I don’t think it was ever certified for anything but Cessnas.  

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Aparently accident pilot had flown in to view a piper meridian for sale there at Olathe...he also had sellers company pilot test fly and than made the decision to return home that day rather than spend the night.Seat slipping,huckbolt question..all speculated on here...for me my Occams razor points to something Im ashamed to admit Ive done..in the excitement to view the new bird,pilot simply forgot to reset trim for takeoff and for  what ever reason failed regain pitch control .Resultant videoed stall spin is classic departure stall..sad

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Just now, thinwing said:

Aparently accident pilot had flown in to view a piper meridian for sale there at Olathe...he also had sellers company pilot test fly and than made the decision to return home that day rather than spend the night.Seat slipping,huckbolt question..all speculated on here...for me my Occams razor points to something Im ashamed to admit Ive done..in the excitement to view the new bird,pilot simply forgot to reset trim for takeoff and for  what ever reason failed regain pitch control .Resultant videoed stall spin is classic departure stall..sad

His Mooney transition instructor also had very positive things to say about his abilities.  Videos are hard to watch.  The FBO said he did an extended preflight, which may be because he was uncomfortable with the workflow on a new-to-him airplane.  In any case, I didn't see anything in the NTSB files to suggest a "turn the key and go" departure.  Any of us could forget one thing at the end of a long day... accidentally skipping an item in an otherwise thorough preflight.  Yuck.

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Interesting discussion.

I've been through the sliding seat scenario a couple times - from my right seat. It turned out my right seat holes where more ovaled than my wife's left seat. Maybe its because I weigh a good 50+ lbs more than her. Regardless I was fortunate it never happened to me till after a few thousand hours in Mooney's and I was prepped enough to just let go of the yoke and let the trim control pitch for a couple seconds. But in my case my wife was there to take over. She wasn't happy! 

But I hate to have to admit it happended a couple times before I had it in annual and went through the long arduous process of replacing all 4 seat rails. Now its impossible, as long as the seat pins are fully engaged in the rails - so they get cleaned out every annual and every time  I get in I push down on the bar below the seat to check they're engaged and I also push back on the seat firmly with my feet to test their holding. With those checks and non-ovaled seat rails I can be confident they are secure for takeoff. 

Setting trim before every takeoff has to be engrained in every pilot. I frequently have to remind some folks I fly with to reset trim before next takeoff when doing pattern work. IMO it needs to be memorized pre-takeoff check list of everything looking at the controls down: prop & mixture, cowl flaps when you have them, & trim! But obviously its the trim setting that is going to establish when the plane is going to be trying to liftof and be a real handful if not at the takeoff position. But it shouldn't be fatal when we do forget it. We don't typically require full power for takeoff either and can quickly reduce a bit while bringing up trim if needed to keep yoke pressures manageable - just like a go around. 

I've never seen a seat slide back until the nose pitches up early in the takeoff, that's when it really requires the pin engagement to prevent it from sliding down hill. I wish my Mooney had the acceleration to cause that much force when pushing the throttle all the way in but it doesn't and we shouldn't be pushing it in rapidly either but smoothly as the plane accelerates. Otherwise the prop is eating any fod on the runway at the start of our takeoff roll. 

We have essnetially the same seat rails as the Cessna's with the AD, yet luckily without the AD. Despite no AD, it's imperative we replace them when the seat pins won't stay engaged or become significantly ovaled since its such an important safety factor - but it need not be fatal either and as long as we don't compound the issue by taking off with the trim way up.

Although I keep my hand on throttle for takeoff,  the need is more a function of type of throttle control being used. A vernier control is not going to slip back like the push-pull with friction lock. With a vernier throttle control and pilot that has a need for their other hand on the yoke or bar I wouldn't be concerned about - its not going to move on it own. 

I am familiar with the Cessna inertia real under the front seats too - but I think our seats are too low to the floor to allows the room those require - which is considerable.  

Edited by kortopates
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I will re-iterate what I said earlier in this thread.  An advantage of owned airplanes is we can do certain things that specialize to our own airplane.

A sliding seat becomes impossible of you put a black of wood behind the seat that reaches from the back of your seat rail to the front of the back row of seats.  A nice 2 by 4 or something shaved the right size for your personal seats.  Its not installed, but just placed there, so no stc, or sign off or anything needed, but insurance against this occasional occurrence.

I do not have this personally but I had planned it.  I do not have it since I am very tall and even have an extra seat hole added, tall enough that I checked that yes I can happily even if not optimally fly the plane and reach everything even with the seat all the way at the far back of the seat rails.  But otherwise I would be doing the wood thing.

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14 minutes ago, aviatoreb said:

I will re-iterate what I said earlier in this thread.  An advantage of owned airplanes is we can do certain things that specialize to our own airplane.

A sliding seat becomes impossible of you put a black of wood behind the seat that reaches from the back of your seat rail to the front of the back row of seats.  A nice 2 by 4 or something shaved the right size for your personal seats.  Its not installed, but just placed there, so no stc, or sign off or anything needed, but insurance against this occasional occurrence.........  But otherwise I would be doing the wood thing.

Following this advice sliding a seat back also becomes impossible if you need to exit quickly during an emergency.  Anything you set on the floor or anything that falls off the seat potentially will be sitting on top of your "2x4".  

Yes, yes you are right that it will work in theory just like this...

482542

 

Just fix the seat track and release mechanism.

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4 minutes ago, 1980Mooney said:

Following this advice sliding a seat back also becomes impossible if you need to exit quickly during an emergency.  Anything you set on the floor or anything that falls off the seat potentially will be sitting on top of your "2x4".  

Yes, yes you are right that it will work in theory just like this...

482542

 

Just fix the seat track and release mechanism.

Are people sliding the pilot seat back to exit the plane in an emergency? My seat almost never moves.  I’m the only one who flies it so it seems like it only moves if a mechanic is doing something with the plane like at annual.

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1 minute ago, aviatoreb said:

Are people sliding the pilot seat back to exit the plane in an emergency? My seat almost never moves.  I’m the only one who flies it so it seems like it only moves if a mechanic is doing something with the plane like at annual.

Ummmm....The Pilot would likely be sliding the pilot seat back if he or she needed to exit the plane in an emergency....

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19 minutes ago, aviatoreb said:

Are people sliding the pilot seat back to exit the plane in an emergency? My seat almost never moves.  I’m the only one who flies it so it seems like it only moves if a mechanic is doing something with the plane like at annual.

It’s a lot easier for me to get in and out with the seat back.  Having said that, about half the time I forget to put the seat back and just end up crawling out in a slightly less comfortable position. Based on this, I highly doubt my first instinct in an emergency would be to slide the seat back! (Maybe I’m alone here)

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21 minutes ago, 1980Mooney said:

Ummmm....The Pilot would likely be sliding the pilot seat back if he or she needed to exit the plane in an emergency....

Remember that you said that you are so tall that you have added another aft hole in the seat track and that you can fly it with the seat all the way back against the backseat.  Your "normal" seat position is set in the range were the seat is normally released and pushed back.  If a pilot is short the seat will be forward perhaps on the first seat track hole.  If, after they get in and slide the seat forward to their comfortable position, they then place a board behind the seat - then they will be wedged in and unable to exit until that board is pulled out behind the seat.

Edited by 1980Mooney
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