Beech V35 Midair Breakup

tobnpr

Pre-takeoff checklist
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Lakeland, FL
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tobnpr
Once they finally fixed the tail, the breakup of V-tails have been much rarer. This one does look like it did lose the LH ruddervator in flight, so the v-tail was apparently involved in the sequence of parts breaking formation.
 
I know the family well. He practiced with a friend of mine in BR and his younger brother and father are referrals to my practice. Tragic loss
The weather has been very unsettling here in the last couple weeks. I'm sorry for your loss @robin ardoin. Local (Nashville) news is doing less than stellar reporting including the "Fork Tailed Doctor Killer" spread with some A&P/IA voicing his "opinion" to an uneducated anchor.
 
All the forecasts pointed to interaction with a weak trough arriving around that time, but it did end up being slightly stronger than the original forecasts were calling.
 
So I was departing JWN right as this happened. Heard approach giving several directions with no audible response, and finally "radar contact lost". Shortly afterwards they switched me to center, which turned out to be the wrong frequency; an understandable mistake given the circumstances. I didn't really realize what I had heard until Robin mentioned the crash in the picture thread.

A band of moderate rain had just passed over, and all yellow returns had moved east of JWN. The incident occurred further south, so there may have been something popping up down there, but there was no vertical development above 8000 in the area I was in. I was climbing to 6000 and we popped through a couple buildup that were pretty smooth and were above the layer the rest of the way. I can't imagine there was anything strong enough to tear an airplane apart, but I suppose we'll never actually know unless there happened to be a data card in a g5 or something.
 
Sad.

There are quite a few pictures of the plane before the crash online, including the interior/dash. It looked very well equipped.

ADSB of this flight, along with previous flights, makes it look like the doctor was no stranger to flying around/avoiding much worse weather than the day of the crash...so much so, I'm not sure I'd settle on weather as the main factor yet....
 
(Nashville) news is doing less than stellar reporting including the "Fork Tailed Doctor Killer" spread with some A&P/IA voicing his "opinion" to an uneducated anchor.
Is this in an online news article or on-camera interview that can be found?
 
There are quite a few pictures of the plane before the crash online, including the interior/dash. It looked very well equipped.

ADSB of this flight, along with previous flights, makes it look like the doctor was no stranger to flying around/avoiding much worse weather than the day of the crash...so much so, I'm not sure I'd settle on weather as the main factor yet....
You and I came to two different conclusions re: the accident flight track. To me, the slight zig-zags in the last 25 min look more like small (possibly erratic?) oscillations around his direct course rather than effective weather deviations. The rapid altitude excursion at the end is either a poor choice to try to outclimb the weather or the beginning of the end when he got caught in a strong updraft.

Airman registry shows he has an IR, but if I interpret it correctly he only got it two years ago. Maybe he wasn't so experienced flying in actual?
 
There's a local Facebook group where one of the BNA TRACON controllers mentioned that the pilot had been given a climb from 7k to 9k, but blew through the altitude. I think they gave him an altitude reminder, and that was the last they heard from him. This one is a head scratcher since he'd been stable at 7k for a while, and based on the track he had an autopilot on.
 
Sad.

There are quite a few pictures of the plane before the crash online, including the interior/dash. It looked very well equipped.

ADSB of this flight, along with previous flights, makes it look like the doctor was no stranger to flying around/avoiding much worse weather than the day of the crash...so much so, I'm not sure I'd settle on weather as the main factor yet....
It was right at the boundary of decent and not great. There were fairly light echoes that initiated right as the aircraft arrived in that area. Echo tops were 5k up to 10k, which encompasses the altitude he was at. But I don’t see it so much as an issue of severity, but more to do with a VMC to IMC transition. The airplane didn’t break up in level flight, it went into a 26,000 fpm (>250 knots in the vertical) spiral, then broke up.

I agree that it’s way too early to say it’s causal, but it’s hard to imagine a spiral like that occurring on a clear day. How many times have we seen this lately, where a high-performance, well-equipped airplane and instrument rated pilot enter what looks to be benign weather and soon after the airplane hooks into a spiral? And after you analyze the weather, you discover they likely penetrated the boundary between VMC and IMC right around that time.
 
There's a local Facebook group where one of the BNA TRACON controllers mentioned that the pilot had been given a climb from 7k to 9k, but blew through the altitude. I think they gave him an altitude reminder, and that was the last they heard from him. This one is a head scratcher since he'd been stable at 7k for a while, and based on the track he had an autopilot on.
Could that be the problem? Maybe he left it on AP and it over-stressed to the point of failure? (Pure conjecture from a newbie, hoping to learn something from responses).
 
How many times have we seen this lately, where a high-performance, well-equipped airplane and instrument rated pilot enter what looks to be benign weather and soon after the airplane hooks into a spiral? And after you analyze the weather, you discover they likely penetrated the boundary between VMC and IMC right around that time.

This has been happening for decades. That "high performance, well equipped airplane" is no match for convective activity. Put the "instrument rated pilot" who flies recreationally at the controls and in the situation and add another link in the chain.
 
You and I came to two different conclusions re: the accident flight track. To me, the slight zig-zags in the last 25 min look more like small (possibly erratic?) oscillations around his direct course rather than effective weather deviations. The rapid altitude excursion at the end is either a poor choice to try to outclimb the weather or the beginning of the end when he got caught in a strong updraft.

Airman registry shows he has an IR, but if I interpret it correctly he only got it two years ago. Maybe he wasn't so experienced flying in actual?
This is a good point, the several-hundred mile track from his departure to a point where the first left deviation happened (near Lawrenceburg) was razor-straight. But from that point, the track shows small wobbles that seem to indicate it was being hand flown at least part of the time.
 
This is a good point, the several-hundred mile track from his departure to a point where the first left deviation happened (near Lawrenceburg) was razor-straight. But from that point, the track shows small wobbles that seem to indicate it was being hand flown at least part of the time.

More than likely he was trying to deviate for the buildups. Looks like he started a left turn deviation, then after seeing that wasn't going to work decided (for whatever reason) to try back to the right. He probably sees the buildups to the right and decides to go left again, maybe entered IMC and probably started getting pounded and then tried to go back right to get back to VMC, and lost it.
 
You and I came to two different conclusions re: the accident flight track. To me, the slight zig-zags in the last 25 min look more like small (possibly erratic?) oscillations around his direct course rather than effective weather deviations. The rapid altitude excursion at the end is either a poor choice to try to outclimb the weather or the beginning of the end when he got caught in a strong updraft.

Airman registry shows he has an IR, but if I interpret it correctly he only got it two years ago. Maybe he wasn't so experienced flying in actual?
Ok, maybe I wasn't clear...I don't think weather was so severe that it (meaning just extreme turbulence by itself) caused a break up...could he have lost control in moderate turbulence while IFR? Yeah, that on the other hand, is very possible...
 
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Ok, maybe I wasn't clear...I don't think weather was so severe that it (meaning just extreme turbulence by itself) caused a break up...could he have lost control in moderate turbulence while IFR. Yeah, that on the other hand, is very possible...

No accident is caused by just one item. It's typically a chain of items that led up to the final event. If you can stop one of those items by breaking the chain, you can usually prevent the accident.
 
There is no perfect record.....and some years ago I tried to research it......But 350 Bonanzas have disintegrated in flight.

It wasn't until the president of the Bonanza society failure that Beech reluctantly made the tail mod............which is only somewhat of a fix.
 
You and I came to two different conclusions re: the accident flight track. To me, the slight zig-zags in the last 25 min look more like small (possibly erratic?) oscillations around his direct course rather than effective weather deviations. The rapid altitude excursion at the end is either a poor choice to try to outclimb the weather or the beginning of the end when he got caught in a strong updraft.

Airman registry shows he has an IR, but if I interpret it correctly he only got it two years ago. Maybe he wasn't so experienced flying in actual?
If you look at the altitude, it also starts very small oscillations about the same time the lateral track started to wobble. I too wonder about an autopilot failure. Add in a climb and vmc-imc transition into a little cell with lots of lift, I could see someone getting behind and losing control.
 
Autopilot failure or simply turbulence was too much for the autopilot, prompting the pilot to handfly in IMC which he wasn't proficient at?
 
No accident is caused by just one item. It's typically a chain of items that led up to the final event. If you can stop one of those items by breaking the chain, you can usually prevent the accident.
Hence why I said, "...main factor..."
 
The weather has been very unsettling here in the last couple weeks. I'm sorry for your loss @robin ardoin. Local (Nashville) news is doing less than stellar reporting including the "Fork Tailed Doctor Killer" spread with some A&P/IA voicing his "opinion" to an uneducated anchor.

I understand that meme is a point of sensitivity to type owners, but so far it seems like a fairly good match for the scenario.
 
Autopilot failure or simply turbulence was too much for the autopilot, prompting the pilot to handfly in IMC which he wasn't proficient at?
That's also my purely speculative guess. Or perhaps turned the autopilot off, for some technical reason, to climb from 7k to 9k with the intent to re-engage it, but lost it (spatial disorientation) before that could happen.
 
That's also my purely speculative guess. Or perhaps turned the autopilot off, for some technical reason, to climb from 7k to 9k with the intent to re-engage it, but lost it (spatial disorientation) before that could happen.
I absolutely think that deliberate deactivation of the autopilot is as much a possibility as it being knocked offline or some other defect. Using autopilot in IMC is a well known benefit, but there’s a line drawn when turbulence or icing enter the picture, and it gets fuzzy when it it’s not super obvious (like when those conditions are embedded or encountered at night). How we react to the potentially sudden deactivation and resort to our scan and hand-flying skills, including any possible trim issues, is often a significant factor in the outcome.
 
I understand that meme is a point of sensitivity to type owners, but so far it seems like a fairly good match for the scenario.

I’m not a Bonanza owner, I just didn’t like seeing someone in the industry spilling that type of thing to the uneducated media so they can sensationalize it.
 
Wait, what? I was under the impression that Bonanzas were the Mercedes of GA planes. Is this particular to the V-tail?

(edit, just found This http://thomaspturner.net/inflight breakups.htm)

@robin ardoin I'm very sorry for your loss. This must be deeply upsetting, to say the least.

There is no perfect record.....and some years ago I tried to research it......But 350 Bonanzas have disintegrated in flight.

It wasn't until the president of the Bonanza society failure that Beech reluctantly made the tail mod............which is only somewhat of a fix.
 
Gryder was not kind to the pilot on his most recent video. Guys family suffers a huge loss and then someone says a few not-so-nice things about the pilot. Not the time or forum for that.
 
No accident is caused by just one item. It's typically a chain of items that led up to the final event. If you can stop one of those items by breaking the chain, you can usually prevent the accident.
Yup....they like to call it the Swiss Cheese model. It doesn't take just one event or link in the chain....but multiple risks factors that are additive till.....
;)
 
There is no perfect record.....and some years ago I tried to research it......But 350 Bonanzas have disintegrated in flight.
I recall seeing a Bonanza in a shop, I think at N Perry in Hollywood, FL. It had allegedly encountered some light turbulence while inbound.

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15287583088_5db9f5dd51_z.jpg


From the interior shot you can see the skin starting to tear. Not sure how close it was to failing, but it looked scary and made an impression on me.
 
New guy puzzled...
With cases of failure (as indicated by others here, no personal knowledge) documented- assuming no evidence of over-stressing the airframe exists- why is this model still certified to fly?
 
New guy puzzled...
With cases of failure (as indicated by others here, no personal knowledge) documented- assuming no evidence of over-stressing the airframe exists- why is this model still certified to fly?
They are not falling out of the sky....the accident rate will bear that out. This guy obviously was into some nasty turbulence....it was more than just light. IMHO.
 
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