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My Lancair Prop Jet Update


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Many of you have asked, or been polite and not asked, about my unfortunate engine failure at 500' on take-off, Xmas morning, 2021.  I said I would not discuss anything on social media until the NTSB Investigation had been completed and, honestly, I was over the pain of the loss.  It's time.

I have posted an extensive story about that fateful day on the Lancair Live Forum, and the link is the first one below.  That said, the good news is I started the massive undertaking of rebuilding the plane and the progress since the 11th of January has been nothing short of spectacular.  Considering I have spent half my winter at my Florida home, going down for two weeks every month, and we've logged well over 600 man hours on the rebuild already, I'm very happy about the progress.  I would consider documenting the entire process here again (like I did on the initial build) but time on the project trumps time on the computer posting everything on two forums.  The second link below is my rebuild.  The third link is for the Lancair IVPT I am finishing for another builder (with his help) and it is really close to final inspection.

Thanks for the patience to all my past friends on this forum.

The one picture attached is my last Med Flight before my unfortunate engine failure.  This little guy LOVED my plane (300 knots, pressurized and a warm cabin in the winter really helped!!).  It's so sad he was only with us 7 more months after that flight. :(

 

Tom Sullivan

https://www.lancairlive.com/viewtopic.php?t=183

https://lancairlive.com/viewtopic.php?t=177

https://www.lancairlive.com/viewtopic.php?t=189

N994PT Dec 2021 Med Flight.jpg

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Tom, Was really wanting this updare.  Awesome progress.  I still want my ride :) My first day of retirement today.  My bird went straight from avionics to its first annual.  Looking forward to many Up North trips this summer.  Scott

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11 minutes ago, Echo said:

Tom, Was really wanting this updare.  Awesome progress.  I still want my ride :) My first day of retirement today.  My bird went straight from avionics to its first annual.  Looking forward to many Up North trips this summer.  Scott

We'll get you some turbine time before too long!

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Tom,

Thanks for the update. I hope to see N994PT again some day.  It was an amazing build.

Nice work "flying as far into the crash as you can."

PM/email if you need a ride between FL and MI

 

-dan

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Geez Tom,

That is quite a story. You are fortunate on many levels. It reads like you picked the best option you had and then did just about everything right to ensure the best outcome.   3kts above stall to stopped in 138’ is pretty intense deceleration especially when accomplished with tree impacts and undulating terrain.  

You and Beth are lucky to have walked away from such an accident. 
You are in the unusual post accident position of not having much if anything to second guess. By my reading of the events, you did everything you could to ensure the best outcome and it worked.

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4 hours ago, LANCECASPER said:

@Yooper Rocketman thanks for all of the information. Glad that this experience turned out so well considering everything.

 

Do you still have your M20K Rocket (N1017L)?

Yes, I’ve been flying it since the accident.  

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Tom,

Thanks for sharing the link, so grateful you and Beth are okay. I remember seeing your plane at Osh in 2021, it was beautiful. Still hoping to meet up one of these days.

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Very nice job handling an excrement sandwich handed to to you. A question about the Walter turbine. Why does it not have a “roll back” rpm that allows minimal flight when the hydro mechanical control fails? Usually you see a bypass port that opens to maintain a minimal flight RPM when the engine RPM is well below command. Does the new GE control have this as an improvement?

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20 hours ago, GeeBee said:

Very nice job handling an excrement sandwich handed to to you. A question about the Walter turbine. Why does it not have a “roll back” rpm that allows minimal flight when the hydro mechanical control fails? Usually you see a bypass port that opens to maintain a minimal flight RPM when the engine RPM is well below command. Does the new GE control have this as an improvement?

First off, thanks for the compliment.

I am not sure if the GE version has anything like that in it.  There is a "Isol (Isolation)" feature, where you can operate the fuel control manually, but it must be rolled in before you flame out and it only works under certain circumstances (only about half the possible FCU Failure modes can be manually over ridden).  Once the flame is gone, then there is a purging and cooling process that must be completed before a relight, clearly not something that can be done in 15-20 seconds, especially while close to the ground (where any loss of control from that distraction would be fatal).

Tom

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On 5/14/2024 at 6:13 PM, Skates97 said:

Tom,

Thanks for sharing the link, so grateful you and Beth are okay. I remember seeing your plane at Osh in 2021, it was beautiful. Still hoping to meet up one of these days.

Yes, we have to do that!!

Tom

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1 hour ago, Yooper Rocketman said:

First off, thanks for the compliment.

I am not sure if the GE version has anything like that in it.  There is a "Isol (Isolation)" feature, where you can operate the fuel control manually, but it must be rolled in before you flame out and it only works under certain circumstances (only about half the possible FCU Failure modes can be manually over ridden).  Once the flame is gone, then there is a purging and cooling process that must be completed before a relight, clearly not something that can be done in 15-20 seconds, especially while close to the ground (where any loss of control from that distraction would be fatal).

Tom

Yes, cool and purge is difficult on a reverse flow engine quickly. I have to wonder is either you had some paraffin build up or a sense line iced due to condensation in the FCU. Both these things like carb ice will disappear after the crash and are difficult to nail down. Paraffin build up is particularly hard as it usually occurs after the fuel is expanded across an orifice which in a hydro-mechanical FCU there are many. P&W had multiple failures due to icing on a sense line on their PT-6 until they added a heat blanket around the line.

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23 hours ago, GeeBee said:

Yes, cool and purge is difficult on a reverse flow engine quickly. I have to wonder is either you had some paraffin build up or a sense line iced due to condensation in the FCU. Both these things like carb ice will disappear after the crash and are difficult to nail down. Paraffin build up is particularly hard as it usually occurs after the fuel is expanded across an orifice which in a hydro-mechanical FCU there are many. P&W had multiple failures due to icing on a sense line on their PT-6 until they added a heat blanket around the line.

The GE Engineer that revealed to his "Executive Recruiter" (my friend), the one that brought him to GE, that GE had serious concerns about the design of the FCU leads me to believe (as well as a couple other "similar" documented failures) there was a known failure point in the FCU that was addressed with the GE Update.  The fact you cannot get an original Walters FCU anymore, only the GE Updated one, speaks volumes about what I suspect was the issue.

Tom

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