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CIRRUS DOWN AT KMYF TODAY


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Way too many crashes in San Diego County this year.  Looks like the pilot was doing his fifth touch and go; then reported a trim problem.  From Flight Aware it looks like he's been doing touch and goes and short flights all week; hopefully not a student.  Sad to see a pilot lost doing routine touch and goes on a nice day.  Gotta wonder if it was a departure stall or a flight control failure.  Looks like all traffic into MYF was diverted to SEE.  

With the Mooney I rarely change the trim from landing to takeoff so there are no major configuration changes required.  Gotta wonder about the Cirrus.  

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/300551

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SR20…

Around here…

We have seen one run-away trim on an M20K that really was a close call, in cruise descent… nose down… two on board, holding the nose up….

One suspected possible nose trim challenge on a Screamin’ Eagle… leading to a departure stall….

 

For self defense….

There are a few topics on how to help the trim system when it sticks….

This can include adding flaps or removing flaps as that changes the center of lift by a lot….

and adding/removing power….

 

My landing trim and T/O trim are somewhat different from each other…

If….

1) landing trim is for full flaps and low power…  slightly above the T/O flap range…

2) T/O trim is for full power and T/O flaps…  set within the box…

 

Using a trim setting above the T/O box… it is really easy to get the stall horn to announce…

 

Engine out, or stall warning surprise on departure… don’t wait, push the yoke, get light in the seat…

Prayers for the lost airman…

Best regards,

-a-

 

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12 hours ago, DCarlton said:

hopefully not a student.

It was a Coast aircraft (large training school) - can't imagine it not being a student. 

From the tape, I have a really hard time understanding the Cirrus pilot, seems to begin with "my, ah, my trim is 'hot' then something unintelligible that include "extricate myself"? Anyway, pilot is instructed to go around but crashes before doing so. Eye witnesses indicated seeing the plane porpoise multiple times down the runway.

No question, landing an aircraft seriously out of trim is really really hard; especially for a student pilot. Pilot never used his call sign and sounds very stressed and even thought I heard the emergency word when he was cut off by another transmission. 

Hopefully the preliminary tells us where the trim was, I have to guess full up to stops if stuck, since we would never get the trim in the full down.

 

12 hours ago, DCarlton said:

With the Mooney I rarely change the trim from landing to takeoff so there are no major configuration changes required.  Gotta wonder about the Cirrus.  

Not a Cirrus pilot, but with with full flap landings I have never landed with trim at takeoff setting. My trim is set for hands off to maintain final approach speed no more than 70-75 kts depending on weight (1.3 Vso or slower 1.2 Vso for short field) - which is well above the take off setting.

Edited by kortopates
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28 minutes ago, kortopates said:

It was a Coast aircraft - can't imagine it not being a student. 

From the tape, I have a really hard time understanding the Cirrus pilot, seems to begin with "my, ah, my trim is 'hot' then something unintelligible that include "extricate myself"? Anyway, pilot is instructed to go around but crashes before doing so. Eye witnesses indicated seeing the plane porpoise multiple times down the runway.

 

Not a Cirrus pilot, with with full flap landings I never have landed with trim at takeoff setting. My trim is set for hands off to maintain final approach speed no more than 70-75 kts depending on weight (1.3 Vso or slower 1.2 Vso for short field).

Certainly sounded like a runaway trim. Almost seemed the controller didn’t appreciate the emergency until after it happened. 

The resuscitation/extrication video is interesting. They’re not doing CPR and they’re intermittently providing artificial respirations so I assume he had a pulse when they got there. There’s some mention of taking him to a trauma center which I assume would be UCSD or Hillcrest.

Maybe they were worried about a fire and were just trying to get him away from the aircraft but with that many people it seems like it would have been a lot faster to just put him on a backboard and carry him out to the gurney.

 

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1 hour ago, ilovecornfields said:

Certainly sounded like a runaway trim. Almost seemed the controller didn’t appreciate the emergency until after it happened. 

Does anyone know what happened to the pilot? The resuscitation/extrication video is interesting. They’re not doing CPR and they’re intermittently providing artificial respirations so I assume he had a pulse when they got there. There’s some mention of taking him to a trauma center which I assume would be UCSD or Hillcrest.

Maybe they were worried about a fire and were just trying to get him away from the aircraft but with that many people it seems like it would have been a lot faster to just put him on a backboard and carry him out to the gurney.

The 46 year old pilot was taken to Sharp Memorial a couple minutes away around noon time. He passed away at 1:20pm. A fellow local instructor and past Cirrus owner as well, who is also the Safety Manager for AFW was the first on the scene to help the pilot till emergency responders showed. He's in the video at the far left in white shirt and white hair - you can seem him making hand gestures early on describing the plane porpoising down the runway, But so far I have only heard from his son.  Apparently it came down pretty hard on the nose and they had a hard time getting the pilot out of the aircraft. 

 

Edited by kortopates
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6 minutes ago, kortopates said:

The 46 year old pilot was taken to Sharp Memorial a couple minutes away around noon time. He passed away at 1:20pm. A fellow local instructor and past Cirrus owner as well, who is also the Safety Manager for AFW was the first on the scene to help the pilot till emergency responders showed. He's in the video at the far left in white shirt and white hair - you can seem him making handle signals early on describing the plane porpoising down the runway, But so far I have only heard from his son.  Apparently it came down pretty hard on the nose and they had a hard time getting the pilot out of the aircraft. 

 

Thank you for the information. That sounds awful. I was reading in Beechtalk that the Cirrus doesn’t have a manual trim which was surprising.  
I had a trim failure as a student pilot in an Arrow (a wire detached and the trim essentially broke) but fortunately my instructor was on board and we were able to wrestle the plane back and land it after spending some time practicing at altitude. I’m glad I wasn’t solo that day.

I’ve never flown a Cirrus and wouldn’t have even considered one as a primary trainer but I know some people like them and having a parachute to help you seems to have some appeal. Where would be a good spot to pull the chute if this happened at MYF? Mission Bay?

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19 minutes ago, ilovecornfields said:

Thank you for the information. That sounds awful. I was reading in Beechtalk that the Cirrus doesn’t have a manual trim which was surprising.  
I had a trim failure as a student pilot in an Arrow (a wire detached and the trim essentially broke) but fortunately my instructor was on board and we were able to wrestle the plane back and land it after spending some time practicing at altitude. I’m glad I wasn’t solo that day.

I’ve never flown a Cirrus and wouldn’t have even considered one as a primary trainer but I know some people like them and having a parachute to help you seems to have some appeal. Where would be a good spot to pull the chute if this happened at MYF? Mission Bay?

Electrical failure, including a broken wire, is a very good possibility. 

I have never given any thought as to where to pull a chute.  But if pattern altitude or close to it will do it and winds aren't too bad there is a lot of open space on the east side of the airport when approaching to land on 27L/R. No good places in SD, but there is a large golf course just east of the airport which would be my next choice. There is also Tierrasanta hills open space  between MYF and Gillespie but that is going to delay recue folks and you could end up in steep terrain causing more injuries.

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While not optimal, you can “land” under the chute in some pretty rough places and it’s survivable.  I would prefer to land with zero drift in the middle of the 18th green on a nice soft golf course, but really trees, hills, suburbia, etc should still be survivable.  I would feel bad injuring someone on the ground, but that might be low chance?  We had one out of KSFF that pulled in the mts near Mccall idaho and they were fine although it ended up in a relatively flat area.

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A client of mine just had a GFC 500 autopilot with electric trim installed in his plane.  Somehow they got things messed up with the trim to the point it pitched up quite steeply on the first take off.  He couldn’t trim the nose down with the trim wheel, it was out of travel somehow.

Airframes like the Cirrus have no manual trim system and the circuit breakers are not easily reached in an emergency.  Killing the battery switches is the fastest way to stop a run away.

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Trim switches lead a hard life….

They can get the full force of whatever a thumb can press…. They certainly don’t need much.

But while pushing or pulling with the full force of one’s arms, it can be tough to regulate how much pressure goes through a thumb switch…


Since they are typically a dual switch, both switches have to be in agreement to operate… 

 

Always know how to kill a runaway trim….  Nice colored rings on the trim CB always helps…

Pp thoughts only…

Best regards,

-a-

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13 minutes ago, M20Doc said:

A client of mine just had a GFC 500 autopilot with electric trim installed in his plane.  Somehow they got things messed up with the trim to the point it pitched up quite steeply on the first take off.  He couldn’t trim the nose down with the trim wheel, it was out of travel somehow.

Airframes like the Cirrus have no manual trim system and the circuit breakers are not easily reached in an emergency.  Killing the battery switches is the fastest way to stop a run away.

When the GFC500 was installed in my plane someone turned one of the tubes when they had them disconnected to put the gear on for the trim. When I was going through pre-flight I found that I did not have full travel of my trim and taxied back. It was an easy fix to disconnect the joint and turn the tube until it was correct and reconnect the joint, but had I not found it on pre-flight it could have ended poorly. 

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During my one and only Cirrus hour, I thought it mildly odd there was no trim wheel.  That now seems like a terrible idea.  Even modern Airbuses retain manual trim wheels.  How many certified aircraft of any size are there that have trim forces that aren't trivial to overpower but don't have a manual control?

When I first got my C model, it had the Norm Smith STC'd electric trim on it.  At least in my case, you couldn't turn the wheel manually with it installed.  One of the first things I did was to have it taken out.  

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22 minutes ago, Skates97 said:

When the GFC500 was installed in my plane someone turned one of the tubes when they had them disconnected to put the gear on for the trim. When I was going through pre-flight I found that I did not have full travel of my trim and taxied back. It was an easy fix to disconnect the joint and turn the tube until it was correct and reconnect the joint, but had I not found it on pre-flight it could have ended poorly. 

It seems to be a more frequent issue than we’d think.

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40 minutes ago, M20Doc said:

It seems to be a more frequent issue than we’d think.

I discussed this with the installer and I suggested he first run the trim all the way to the stop in one direction. Then, no matter how much screwing around he has to do to get the old BK trim stuff out and the new Garmin stuff installed, he'd know where the trim needs to be when he put it back together. He said it worked great.

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1 hour ago, M20Doc said:

A client of mine just had a GFC 500 autopilot with electric trim installed in his plane.  Somehow they got things messed up with the trim to the point it pitched up quite steeply on the first take off.  He couldn’t trim the nose down with the trim wheel, it was out of travel somehow.

Airframes like the Cirrus have no manual trim system and the circuit breakers are not easily reached in an emergency.  Killing the battery switches is the fastest way to stop a run away.

I agree runaway trim could be bad, and pulling CBs is required to stop it permanently, holding down the AP disconnect switch which is right near your finger will also remove power from the trim.  Thats step one, fly, look for the right CBs.  
Im not saying it’s easy or good, but the AP disconnect is important there.

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2 hours ago, DXB said:

During my one and only Cirrus hour, I thought it mildly odd there was no trim wheel.  That now seems like a terrible idea.  Even modern Airbuses retain manual trim wheels.  How many certified aircraft of any size are there that have trim forces that aren't trivial to overpower but don't have a manual control?

When I first got my C model, it had the Norm Smith STC'd electric trim on it.  At least in my case, you couldn't turn the wheel manually with it installed.  One of the first things I did was to have it taken out.  

I have a total of one Cirrus hour as well (er, 1.1 hours, whatever). My hour of dual was from a Cirrus instructor at a Cirrus authorized training center. During preflight, I asked how you could check the condition of the alternator belt. He said that it’s not possible to check the condition of the belt without removing the cowling, but it’s no problem because there are two alternators, and he’s never seen an issue that affected both of them. 

So I guess I was concerned for no reason :|

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6 hours ago, carusoam said:

Around here…

We have seen one run-away trim on an M20K that really was a close call, in cruise descent… nose down… two on board, holding the nose up….

I had a situation nowhere near this critical or dangerous, but one flight where my trim jackscrew was apparently binding - causing the autopilot to disengage at cruise. I switched off the electric trim and tried to turn the trim wheel manually, but no amount of force would move it. The chain ended up popping off the trim wheel. 

Landing was a bit interesting, with a huge amount of control force needed to flare (after already having to maintain a fair amount of back pressure for 70 knots on final with the plane trimmed for cruise). But it all worked out fine, and got my workout in for the day.

It took an experienced Mooney mechanic about 20 minutes to lube the jackscrew and reset the trim chain, and it has never happened again. 

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@PT20J Skip,

Do you recall what the design force limit is for the elevator?

The FAA set a limit for GA to not exceed some number of pounds pushing or pulling on the yoke….

I can’t find this piece of knowledge…

Best regards,

-a-

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1 hour ago, toto said:

I have a total of one Cirrus hour as well (er, 1.1 hours, whatever). My hour of dual was from a Cirrus instructor at a Cirrus authorized training center. During preflight, I asked how you could check the condition of the alternator belt. He said that it’s not possible to check the condition of the belt without removing the cowling, but it’s no problem because there are two alternators, and he’s never seen an issue that affected both of them. 

So I guess I was concerned for no reason :|

I have a friend who was working on a ppl and bought new cirrus. He could not fly it yet and asked me to get checked out so I could fly him around. 
I found the training course very interesting because I learned on the typical flight school 172’s for the first 40 or so hours.  Only the absolute minimum equipment, and sometimes not even that, worked. I never used an autopilot until I got my Mooney. 
While I was assimilating in the cirrus, whenever I felt like I was getting behind or not sure of where to find something on the panel, I would turn off the autopilot and hand fly until I caught up.
After each lesson, as part of the cirrus training the instructor would evaluate and critique your performance.  After each flight, the only comments he had for me were to tell me to engage the AP sooner after takeoff, and leave it engaged longer during approaches. 
I believe that the entire training heavily emphasizes the  automated features of the plane. 
This appears to have had a very positive impact on their accident statistics, which started out very badly.

I can’t say this is a bad thing, but I do wonder if the pilots who learn in cirrus’s miss out on some critical experience. Perhaps the need for these skills never manifests, but when it does, it reminds me of what one of my first instructors told me when I was too green to understand. 
He said he hated giving IPC’s to cirrus pilots. I asked him why, and he said because when he failed the AP, they couldn’t fly the plane.

Im sure this was a generalization and not fair to the majority of cirrus pilots and I don’t say this to impugn anyone, merely to point out that there may be a consequence to over reliance on technology. Maybe honing both skills should be a bigger part of the training. 
I have no idea what caused this to happen  to this poor guy, and these comments aren’t really directed to this accident, just a tangent….

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An autopilot will try to kill you. There are always multiple ways to kill it first. 1) hold down the disconnect button on the yoke (also kills the trim). 2) turn it off. 3) pull the autopilot CB.

I put red bands on the trim and autopilot circuit breakers for quick identification. (I also put one on the speed brakes because the actuator button is on the left horn of the yoke and I once hit it while reaching for a control on the panel and activated the brakes in icing and one failed to retract, so now I pull it if icing is a possibility).

Main Image

Special note for GFC 500 fliers: The trim CB will NOT keep the autopilot from activating the trim, unlike the King autopilots. That CB only protects the wiring to the yoke mounted manual trim switches. If you get a trim runaway with a GFC 500, you must pull the autopilot CB.

Skip

 

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1 hour ago, carusoam said:

@PT20J Skip,

Do you recall what the design force limit is for the elevator?

The FAA set a limit for GA to not exceed some number of pounds pushing or pulling on the yoke….

I can’t find this piece of knowledge…

Best regards,

-a-

Good question. I don't know. I think that stick forces were limited by CAR 3 to 40 lbs from a cruise trimmed condition down to 1.3 Vso and up to Vne. But I don't know that stuck trim was ever a consideration.

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Curious about opinions on the side stick.  I’ve never flown one but I don’t think I want an airplane with a side stick.  Assuming this aircraft was badly out of trim, I cant imagine wrestling with it with a side stick especially if you’re right handed.  It’s good to be able to put two hands on the yoke if you’re pulling or pushing hard.  

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7 minutes ago, DCarlton said:

It’s good to be able to put two hands on the yoke if you’re pulling or pushing hard.  

I like having both hands on the yoke in turbulence, especially in IMC. Feels like I have better control. 

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6 minutes ago, DCarlton said:

Curious about opinions on the side stick.  I’ve never flown one but I don’t think I want an airplane with a side stick.  Assuming this aircraft was badly out of trim, I cant imagine wrestling with it with a side stick especially if you’re right handed.  It’s good to be able to put two hands on the yoke if you’re pulling or pushing hard.  

In my very limited experience with the Cirrus side stick, it's no big deal to get used to.  It pretty much works just like a yoke, although it has limited travel in all dimensions.  I agree that it would be difficult to manipulate the side stick with both hands.

My understanding is that they picked the side stick for safety reasons - to mitigate the risk of facial injuries in a sudden stoppage where the pilot/pax head hits the yoke.

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