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Old April 11th, 2013, 07:25 PM   #1
CarlH SportPilotCO is offline
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Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Been working over at Lakeland all week so we went over to the Splash in base this afternoon. Right as we were walking down to the dock we saw a large group of people looking towards the end of the lake. A Sea Ray has just crashed on takeoff. It wasn't entirely clear what happened. A couple witnesses told us they saw it stall and spin on take off. A second group said they thought the wing strut had given and the right wing collapsed. The net effect was a crash. Divers were in the water and got one male out of the water quickly and to the dock. He appeared to be ok but in shock. It wasn't clear if there was a second person in the water or not but there were still divers down there for quite a while so we sort of assumed their may have been. The plane appeared totalled.

Apparently just before or after this another Sea Ray sustained significant damage to its tail and aborted a takeoff. Not a good day at the sea base today.

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Old April 11th, 2013, 08:21 PM   #2
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Bummer! I'm glad he was OK and hopefully there was no one else on board.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

That is sad all the way around.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 08:38 PM   #4
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Odd deja vu feeling reading the description, sort of like I read it before about a year ago. No mention on Google yet, except for this thread.

Probably didn't file a flight plan.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 09:10 PM   #5
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

The solution is an RV 10!

No, seriously, this is pretty sad...and adds to the growing pressure to carefully, system wide, look at Searays. It is deja vu.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 09:37 AM   #6
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

The only person I know who owned one had an engine out on takeoff on his last flight. Guy to whom he sold it sank it in a river.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 12:21 PM   #7
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

We heard today that the other occupant of the crashed plane was fine and the male we saw them take to the shore yesterday apparently got out of the hospital today. Again all second hand but that is what rumor was down here today.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 12:24 PM   #8
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

News story:
http://www.baynews9.com/content/news..._right_pl.html
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Old April 12th, 2013, 02:24 PM   #9
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Logajan View Post
I wonder if it is coincidence that both crashes were Seareys or is it a bad design?
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Old April 12th, 2013, 03:59 PM   #10
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

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I wonder if it is coincidence that both crashes were Seareys or is it a bad design?
Since one was built in 1996 (~17 years of flying?) and the other in 2004 (~9 years?), looks to be a coincidence - or (very remote possibility) someone took to sabotage.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 09:16 PM   #11
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

I got to look at the crashed plane first hand. The wings were still attached even after they pulled the plane from the lake after 24 hours so obviously the pilot's perception of one wing flipping up was wrong because strut and strut attachments were still there that I saw. One (right) wing strut attachment plate was detached.
I talked to some pilot who saw it happen who are familiar with the plane. He said he saw it flat spinned it in from 200 feet. I am surprised he is still here. Perhaps because it went into water. His hull was repaired pretty badly
Fly safe.

Last edited by dibaf; April 14th, 2013 at 06:34 PM.
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Old April 12th, 2013, 11:46 PM   #12
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Quote:
Originally Posted by flav8r View Post
I wonder if it is coincidence that both crashes were Seareys or is it a bad design?
Searey is a pretty common homebuilt; in fact, I think it's the most-common homebuilt amphibian. My December 2012 database shows 289 registered examples. In fact, there are 91 registered in Florida alone, even when there ISN'T a major fly-in going on.

So I'm pretty sure the two Searey crashes were just coincidence.

However, when I looked at the fleet accident rate (average number of accidents per total number registered) for Searey, it was right up there... one of the highest of the dozens of individual types I looked at. Higher than the Lancair IV, in fact.

But a lot of the Searey accidents are related to water operations, which is a hazard most homebuilts don't have to deal with. It also has a lower rate of fatalities; about the same as the overall GA fleet and less than half the Lancair IV rate.

Ron Wanttaja

Last edited by wanttaja; April 12th, 2013 at 11:53 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 08:52 PM   #13
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Hello,

My name is Tiago and I am a sea plane pilot.

I saw both accidents, on the second one, the Sea Ray took off normally, and lift off on a stable manner (no CG issues), the plane was climbing normally when the front RIGHT strut failed, yes, it was a structural failure, the wing twisted since it was hold only by the rear strut. The plane rolled to the right since the much higher angle of attack cause the right wing to stall

In fact I also saw the metal "repair" on the hull, just in front the "step" and over the "V".

Regards

Tiago
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Old April 14th, 2013, 12:00 AM   #14
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiago View Post
Hello,

My name is Tiago and I am a sea plane pilot.

I saw both accidents, on the second one, the Sea Ray took off normally, and lift off on a stable manner (no CG issues), the plane was climbing normally when the front RIGHT strut failed, yes, it was a structural failure, the wing twisted since it was hold only by the rear strut. The plane rolled to the right since the much higher angle of attack cause the right wing to stall

In fact I also saw the metal "repair" on the hull, just in front the "step" and over the "V".

Regards

Tiago
Thanks for that. The right front and aft strut was intact. Even the attachment plate to the strut was intact. The only thing sheared off on the right side strut assembly were the 2 AN-4 bolts that attach the strut plate to the leading edge spar (both Aluminum parts). Its interesting that Aluminum parts then were fine and 2 AN-4 bolts sheared cleanly off in what would be normal flight loading. Bad AN hardware??
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Old April 14th, 2013, 09:59 AM   #15
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Hello Dibaf,

What I mean when told the right strut failed is that some part of the strut "system" failed, not the strut itself.

I am impressed that two AN bolt failed while the other aluminum parts were OK.

Thanks for your info.

Best Regards

Tiago
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Old April 14th, 2013, 11:54 AM   #16
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Quote:
Originally Posted by dibaf View Post
Thanks for that. The right front and aft strut was intact. Even the attachment plate to the strut was intact. The only thing sheared off on the right side strut assembly were the 2 AN-4 bolts that attach the strut plate to the leading edge spar (both Aluminum parts). Its interesting that Aluminum parts then were fine and 2 AN-4 bolts sheared cleanly off in what would be normal flight loading. Bad AN hardware??
Depends on the size of the aluminum hardware. If it's hefty enough, the bolts would have failed first.

But do we know if the bolts actually failed? Did they recover portions of sheered-off bolts? Seems unlikely in a water crash, unless the structure actually captured the broken hardware instead of letting it go free.

What's the possibility of human error? Had the plane flown in to the lake, or had it been trailered in? Was this its first flight after re-assembly? Was this one of the new folding-wing models?

Ron Wanttaja
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Old April 14th, 2013, 12:36 PM   #17
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

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Originally Posted by wanttaja View Post
Depends on the size of the aluminum hardware. If it's hefty enough, the bolts would have failed first.

But do we know if the bolts actually failed? Did they recover portions of sheered-off bolts? Seems unlikely in a water crash, unless the structure actually captured the broken hardware instead of letting it go free.

What's the possibility of human error? Had the plane flown in to the lake, or had it been trailered in? Was this its first flight after re-assembly? Was this one of the new folding-wing models?

Ron Wanttaja
Well I am quite familiar with AN hardware and Aluminum and composites so what I recognized when the airplane was pulled out was that on the 8 strut connections on that airplane, this was the only one that was detached. It was right side forward outboard connection. The left wing seemed to be much more badly damaged from impact to the water but the same connection there was still connected even after impact which in light of this in flight failure is very interesting indeed.

The strut connection plate was a 1/4" thick Aluminum (presumely 6061) plate with 2 quarter inch holes in it and there were 2 AN4 bolts that went through the leading edge spar tubing, then through this plate and I guess then the washers nuts etc. The bolts seemed to be sheared off where the nut was (just at the start of the threads). I took some pictures on my smart phone. They both seemed to be sheared off rather cleanly too. The quarter inch thick joining Aluminum plate these bolts connected to the leading edge spar tube was barely deformed. The holes in it looked pretty nicely rounded for what had just taken place.

I would have thought that plate holes would be quite badly oblong given that it was soft 6061 Aluminum and the bolts that sheared off in it were AN4 steel alloy bolts.The sheared off portions of the bolts (missing the nuts) was still lodged into the leading edge spar tubing so it didn't go anywhere. They would be able to recover both those bolts. They could not come out till the leading edge cuff would be removed.

I am interested in buying a used SeaRey Classic (same model as accident aircraft) as it is much cheaper than ordering a new factory built SeaRey LSX (newer model that they complied with ASTM standards) or even buying and building a Searey LSX kit (newer model kit version).

Last edited by dibaf; April 14th, 2013 at 05:59 PM.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #18
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Without reading too much into things, AN4 bolts don't require much torque. I wonder...
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Old April 14th, 2013, 01:32 PM   #19
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Never been a structural failure in a Searey. Seaplanes are inherently way more risky than any land only plane.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 03:26 PM   #20
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

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Never been a structural failure in a Searey.
Depends on what one terms, "Structural Failure." Two non-fatal accidents attributed to hull delamination, which I put in that category (ATL04LA171 and ATL98LA123).

Still, nothing along the lines of the crash in question, so I wouldn't consider it a design issue without corroborating information. Dibaf's description of the sheered-off bolts reminds me of a bolt that failed on my Fly Baby's tail-spring attachment bracket. Looking at the sheer plane under a magnifying glass, you could see a trace of rust leading from a surface flaw to the innards of the bolt.

But what's weird about this case is the reported simultaneous failure of *two* bolts. One could have failed by corrosion (like mine) and the second then failed due to the overstress of taking all the load. But the plane was climbing out after takeoff... the load should have been around 1G. The fitting with two bolts probably was good to at least 6 Gs; you'd think one bolt should have held at 1 G.

Interested in seeing some photos of both the stock and the post-accident fittings....

Ron Wanttaja
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Old April 14th, 2013, 06:21 PM   #21
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiago View Post
Hello,

My name is Tiago and I am a sea plane pilot.

I saw both accidents, on the second one, the Sea Ray took off normally... when the front RIGHT strut failed....
Tiago, I'm a friend of the pilot of that SeaRey. I've sent you a message in Pilots of America--please look for it. Or email me directly at DonMaxwell@AbstractConcreteWorks.com

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Old April 14th, 2013, 07:52 PM   #22
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

What is it about this thread that has brought us so many first time posters????
I last count I see at least four.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 08:10 PM   #23
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
Without reading too much into things, AN4 bolts don't require much torque. I wonder...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dibaf View Post
....... The bolts seemed to be sheared off where the nut was (just at the start of the threads). I took some pictures on my smart phone. They both seemed to be sheared off rather cleanly too.... ).

My gut feeling.. The failure point is a classic signature of the overtorquing
of the fastener....
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Last edited by N801BH; April 14th, 2013 at 08:22 PM.
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Old April 15th, 2013, 01:15 PM   #24
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanttaja View Post
Dibaf's description of the sheered-off bolts reminds me of a bolt that failed on my Fly Baby's tail-spring attachment bracket. Looking at the sheer plane under a magnifying glass, you could see a trace of rust leading from a surface flaw to the innards of the bolt.
Stress corrosion cracking is not to be trifled with, both 4037 and 8740 based AN bolts are not happy when under stress in the presence of chloride ions. Their lifespan decreases rapidly if they are installed and loaded such that the material is subjected to stress near the proportionality limit.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 03:40 PM   #25
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Re: Plane Crash at Sun N Fun Splash In Today

After recovering the airplane it was examined at the factory with FAA representatives present. When the fabric covering was removed it was reported that the two AN-4A bolts for the strut attachment had been installed incorrectly. The report said the strut attach plate was supported on the bolt threads. One bolt was said to show evidence of corrosion at present in the failure plane. No provision was made for inspection of the attachment as specified in the construction manual. According to a factory representative, the airplane was extensively damaged and repaired by the original owner after a hangar collapse. The aircraft is said to have accumulated more than 800 hours by the subsequent owner.
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