mike_elliott

Mooney Fatality, Bartow, FL.

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I strongly agree with others that think it's useful to discuss all possible causes because it broadens the scope of things we add to our own level of experience. Let's suppose it was a prop failure but thinking about fuel starvation creates another reminder to be 100% sure about fuel requirements and supply. Another possibility not discussed as to why no evidence of fuel in photos and no fire is the possibility this plane was equipped with bladders that survived the impact. I would like to know if it was because looking at the damage to the area of the wing that contains fuel and if bladders were present and held the fuel it would be clear evidence that they do add a level of protection against fire. I'm sure this will become know from the investigation.

We can speculate and still be respectful to all involved in this sad situation 

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A couple years ago, a Cirrus lost control and spun to the ground while on approach in Houston (think it was Houston).  Security video showing the parking lot of the hardware store where it came down directly on a customer's car showed gasoline scattering across the parking lot from the smashed tanks.  It was stunning to see so much gasoline, so much impact, no fire.  Gas in the tanks, ruptured or not does not guarantee a fire.

 

Oops, that's what I get for not reading the last several posts.  Sorry.

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49 minutes ago, David Lloyd said:

A couple years ago, a Cirrus lost control and spun to the ground while on approach in Houston (think it was Houston).  Security video showing the parking lot of the hardware store where it came down directly on a customer's car showed gasoline scattering across the parking lot from the smashed tanks.  It was stunning to see so much gasoline, so much impact, no fire.  Gas in the tanks, ruptured or not does not guarantee a fire.

That is the video somebody posted a few posts above...

Straight down trajectory also doesn’t get the extended scraping of metal parts on the ground that tend to generate sparks...

 

Like any other burning discussion...

We need three things for a fire...

1) fuel

2) air 

3) ignition source in contact with the other two items...

It doesn’t take much to cool the hot surfaces, or keep fuel from touching them...

unfortunately, the vertical descent is not survivable, even though it is good at not sparking a fire...

Best regards,

-a-

 

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9 hours ago, gsxrpilot said:

So I'm speculating that if this airplane was 4th in the formation and they were on an overhead break to land, then it would have been the one airplane, not in sight of any of the others during the landing maneuver.

In the audio the lead pilot, N7JC, can be heard directing the flight to extended trail early, so no overhead break.   Nonetheless, the plane went down on final and no one knew, so pretty sure they were #4 and out of sight of the others.

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8 hours ago, bradp said:

Frequent and sometimes large power changes, always ROP, too much focus to look at or care about engine gauges except for dedicated and coordinated glance, so you’re typically full mixture relying on the altitude compensating servo to do its job.  

I log a lot of Mooney formation flying each year. Our SOP is if anyone is down to their last 90 minutes of fuel, the flight is RTB, return to base. And if anyone gets down to 60 min of fuel remaining, the flight heads for the nearest airport.

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Can we not just mourn the loss of our fellow pilots and leave the speculation out until the NTSB does its job.

Clarence

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I’m really struggling holding back my thoughts.  I spent considerable time talking with Bonney at the Mooney gathering at Spruce Creek in January.  Being really busy, I neglected to post a story and a picture, MY FRIEND that attended the gathering, took at that event (with Bonney kneeling right beside me) of the whole group.  I talked with her at length and she was proud to share that she owned the RV and her  husband owned the  Mooney.  They were an Aviation loving couple living on one of the most amazing Airparks in the world.  They epitomized US!   

I don’t disagree many of you have the right to discuss “what could have happened”.  But the community down here at Spruce, (yes, I’m here now and knew about this before the first post), is devastated.  Dennis was on the Association Board.   I suggest we take speculations to the cause, supposedly done to “help us learn”, to a new topic and pay our sympathies and respects to their loss on this thread.

How would you like your loved ones, left behind in YOUR FATAL ACCIDENT, seeing all this speculation to the loss of their family/friends in the light of some of these posts?  I simply do not agree this thread deserves these posts!

Tom

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Can we not just mourn the loss of our fellow pilots and leave the speculation out until the NTSB does its job.

Speculation is one thing but when people make declarations as if they definitively know what happen is another, especially when they are indicative of pilot error.
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Again, I stand by my hesitance against speculating without evidence. In the safety world, no conclusions are made or drawn without all fact-finding complete. In the military, there is usually a lot of data to go through; flight data recorder, engine files, logged faults, controller interview, ground crew interviews, etc. For general aviation, without recorders, and many flights under VFR rules, VMC, there is far less information to gleam.

For this crash, the onsite investigator will examine the position of the fuel selector, will note if there is any residue within the wreckage or in the immediate vicinity. They'll note whether the prop is still on the plane, the impact markings on the prop (whether it was turning when the plane impacted), as well as an engine inspection looking for signs of catastrophic failure. Because this plane is mostly intact and not consumed with post-crash fire, I expect this report to be complete enough for us to have a focused discussion. 

I still stand by my request to wait for more details & facts to come to light on this particular crash. However, I've seen two great topics that warrant in-depth discussion on this forum. 1) fuel starvation, fuel planning (IFR & VFR) and real-world techniques we have to not run out of fuel. 2) How does a Mooney respond to an in-flight departure of the propeller? Does it stay within W&B, does the lack of P-factor cause yaw as the propeller departs, actions post-departure for pilots to do, etc. I think these would be great topics to start as threads if anyone is wanting to honcho that. 

------------------------

Back to the tragedy at hand, I'm focused on the loss of a Mooney couple who loved to fly. For me, the loss hits home because we have many on MS who personally know them. My heartfelt condolences go out to their family and friends. 

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Based on my Js W&B, loosing a 46lb prop wouldn’t move the balance much, I can get anywhere near the forward limit, unless both weighed in at 700lbs and had seats in forward position.

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1 hour ago, ArtVandelay said:

Based on my Js W&B, loosing a 46lb prop wouldn’t move the balance much, I can get anywhere near the forward limit, unless both weighed in at 700lbs and had seats in forward position.

Seems like losing the prop would move the CG rearwards. If flying with a rear CG as many advocate for better speed and economy (i.e., sandbags or other weights in the baggage area), a sudden rear shift would make a nose-up attitude change; with no power available; pushing to prevent the stall may cause other problems, as will not reacting quickly enough which may cause a stall, and at pattern altitude we know where that leads . . . . 

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Seems like losing the prop would move the CG rearwards. If flying with a rear CG as many advocate for better speed and economy (i.e., sandbags or other weights in the baggage area), a sudden rear shift would make a nose-up attitude change; with no power available; pushing to prevent the stall may cause other problems, as will not reacting quickly enough which may cause a stall, and at pattern altitude we know where that leads . . . . 

You’re right, it would move it rearward, but assuming both pilots were seated in the front seat, again no where near the limit.

There arm and weight is just not enough, unless they were already pretty close.

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The Bonanza list deals with the issue of accidents and discussion of possible scenarios in a very effective way.  I follow both this list and the Bo list since there is valuable learning even with discussing possible scenarios. They try not to conclude or place blame on anybody but if people are bothered by the discussion of accident scenarios they are reminded that there is no requirements that they follow the discussions.   Even months later the FAA or NTSB often are not able to define an exact cause and their conclusions are often speculative too.

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I've also noticed the comments on BeechTalk are copy and pastes of comments here.  Which says a lot about the level of conversation and the comments that didn't 100% make sense.

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19 hours ago, Yooper Rocketman said:

I’m really struggling holding back my thoughts.  I spent considerable time talking with Bonney at the Mooney gathering at Spruce Creek in January.  

Tom

 

I was there that day at the creek... somehow did not get into the picture....

Do you know if there is a memorial or get together planned?

Jim

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I'm saddened to learn of the loss of these folks, who could have been any of us. After reading the thread and media links, I don't see don't see much to go on here in terms of cause.  When more relevant information emerges, I would like to hear it and try learn from it, even if doing so requires some speculation.  I do hope that any such speculation will be carefully labeled as nothing more than that and done in a way that is respectful to the deceased and their families and friends.

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3 hours ago, Jim Peace said:

I was there that day at the creek... somehow did not get into the picture....

Do you know if there is a memorial or get together planned?

Jim

Jim, you showed up AFTER the photo shoot. As far as a get together, there was a memorial gathering the evening of the fatality.  There MAY be another but at this time I’m not aware of one.  

Tom

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So sorry to hear about this couple who seemed good members of the community down there. 
 

There is something to go on. This was, based on photos, uncontrolled flight into terrain / LOC accident.  By the apparent damage, wasn’t a slide into a tree, it was a pancake onto the ground.  Therefore, the likelihood is that the LOC aspect may have been preventable.  Something took away a safety margin - speculating on prop loss or what not may be valuable. It’s also valuable to consider distractions in the pattern and non-normal scenarios such as a four ship formation to an overhead pattern.  Non normal scenarios can and do lead to distractions.  Don’t know if it applies here, and it doesn’t matter.  The take home is that we need to avoid distractions at critical phases of flight and some scenarios are much more distracting than others.   
 

Personally I’m starting to really like that Dan Gryder AQP and DMMS take on things.  

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