C172RG fire

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by bbchien, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    http://dms.ntsb.gov/aviation/AccidentReports/mzhncoa3bt54cvz2x151q0ma1/D02202013120000.pdf

    Does anyone remember a post on this site from this pilot? I can't find the string. He survived. CENLA572.

    It took until now for the SB to be published. 2 1/2 years.

    Bulletin Issued for Cessna Hydraulic Power Pack Systems
    On Feb. 8, 2013, the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) advising owners and operators of select Cessna 172/182/210/303 airplanes of an airworthiness concern regarding landing gear hydraulic power pack systems. The SAIB was issued as a result of an inflight fire onboard a 172RG that may have been caused by improper installation of terminal lugs and covers to a hydraulic power pack motor. For more details, see the SAIB at http://go.usa.gov/4z73


    It's been a couple of years.....I suppose that's the best we can expect. :dunno:
     
  2. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    david white had an overheating/smoke in the cockpit problem with the power pack on a 210. is that what you're thinking of?
     
  3. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yep. On this day last year I had it happen to me. IIRC the FAA actually did look in to it but I never heard anything from them.
     
  4. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No. the fellow actually had 3rd degree burns over his legs, shoes melted onto his feet. I've been looking for the thread....
     
  5. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Doc, it was a discussion about an AOPA safety video that highlighted the case you are referring to.... I can't remember what the title of the thread was.
     
  6. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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  7. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's what I thought of when I saw this in the FAAST Blast yesterday.
     
  8. AdamZ

    AdamZ Touchdown! Greaser!

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    FT is correct it was an ASF video on AOPA! The gist was "Fire" " Get the heck DOWN NOW!"
     
  9. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have a friend who had an inflight fire in a Navion. They got down in time to see the remains of the plane consumed. In flight fire is scary. If you survive, don't forget to file the NTSB 830 report.
     
  10. LSLBlues

    LSLBlues Filing Flight Plan

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    What about carrying something like a welding blanket to be able to throw over your legs? Even 60 seconds of protection could make a huge difference.
     
  11. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    Don't know if it will save my and/or passengers lives but I carry 1.3 pounds of halon in my flight bag. I'm always borrowing or renting so I can't depend on the airplane to be equipped.
     
  12. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you think about it, it's an asinine design. A reservoir high up on the inside of the firewall, full of flammable fluid, under pressure, with high amperage circuitry right there on the side. It's so high up I don't think you could even get to it once the master is off and you try to get the halon up there.

    Plus, ever tried to put hydraullic fluid into one of them? It's darned near impossible. You start head on the floor butt in the air, with a nalgene bottle and any drop that you miss ends up in your face.
     
  13. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Hardly seems worth 10 kts.....
     
  14. poadeleted21

    poadeleted21 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think every cutlass I've ever seen was on duty training commercial pilots. The fact that the gear retracts is enough for that job.
     
  15. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    More or less. I rent a gutless cutlass for pleasure and I enjoy it, it even works decently at the altitudes I fly at. Lighter on the controls than a 182(albeit not exactly a "clean" 182) but it gives me a smidge more speed, also cheaper per hour to rent than the 182. I have no need to haul the loads a 182 is capable of and I'm nice and small so I fit into the 172RG nicely. I'm also a sucker for a gear handle and a sucker for a high-wing. Long story short... I admit I'm probably in the minority, but I like the cutlass.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  16. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I feel like a crazed lunatic when I jump up on my Cessna retract soapbox, but I'll post my spiel again.

    There has never been a moment quite as terrifying in my entire life as when the cockpit of the airplane I was flying very rapidly filled up with a thick smoke. It was almost a haze - it was so dense I could taste it and it was burning my eyes, nose, and throat (I later realized it was hydraulic mist). I could barely breath, I could barely see, and I had some doubts as to whether I was ever going to be able to see my family or friends again. I felt strangely calm, yet terrified at the same time. I remember the heat I felt when I tried to bring the gear down. My adrenaline was going so much I knew it was hot, but I didn't know how hot.

    The smoke was clearing and I could see the firetrucks were not quite at the airport yet, so I decided to make a circle around the perimeter to try and lower the gear. I was scared, confused, and alone. I grabbed the handle for the emergency gear extension lever, and I could feel the heat again. I don't remember it being a scalding heat, more of a deep (trying to think of a better way to put it) kind of heat. It was not like boiling water, more like grasping a fiery hot rock.

    I managed to get the gear down, somehow, and landed. Shut everything down and left the engine on and taxiied to the FBO. I got out of the airplane, the line guys came up to me in the gator. The first thing they said to me was "Man, you look like you saw a ghost!" I said "I didn't see one, I just didn't want to become one!" Then all the firetrucks rolled up. I was shaking uncontrollably. As soon as I got out of the airplane and was able to clear my mind a bit, I knew I had suffered some sort of hydraulic failure. The side of the airplane was covered in hydraulic oil.

    I could still taste the hydraulic fluid in my mouth, and my nose was still raw from inhaling that crap. I talked to one of the EMTs about it, and he asked if I needed some sort of assistance. Not being sure what they would do, I declined and asked for some water. At some point in this exchange one of the firefighters noticed my right hand was covered in blisters and red as a ripe tomato - they then asked if I wanted to go to the ER for that. I once again declined, but requested some sort of wrapping so I didn't have to walk around with my hand looking like I just dunked it in toxic waste. They got out their nifty whiz-bang infrared heat gun, and the handle for the gear extension was 185 degrees. You red that right - this fellow said that it could have easily been 215-220 degrees since about 20 minutes had passed since I had shut everything down. I'm lucky I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and was able to use it as a buffer between me and the handle (I pulled my hand into the shirt and used the cuff like a glove)

    I had some bad dreams for awhile afterwards involving fire and the plane - it doesn't help that fire is one of my least favorite way to die. (it's less prefferable to drowning, but preffered over being slowly nibbled by carnivorous groundhogs)

    That's enough of Soapbox Dave for tonight though.
     
  17. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    I understand that the Cessna retracts pose their hydraulic risks. But, I don't think that it's enough for me to sell mine. Every airplane has their risks and their problems.. this is certainly one of the Cessna retract family. I'd be interested to know a very detailed history of them and all the maintenance on them.

    PS. Any documented case of this in the 182RG?
     
  18. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Mine was in a 210 - Tony Condon had a nose gear collapse in a 182RG on him. They put out a service bulletin in his honor.

    I would imagine the hydraulic system is quite similar in a 182RG to that of a 210. The AD extends to 182RGs as well.

    I would advise buying a smoke hood and thick leather gloves to carry around with you. It's good practice in any airplane, one day you might need them - hopefully you never will.
     
  19. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Certainly all airplanes have their risks, but one must look at design features. Hydraulics by themselves aren't a problem - the Navajos and Aztecs have hydraulics, which work quite well and have a good safety record. The standard failure mode of the Aztec's hydraulic power pack is that it just leaks all over the floor, doesn't shoot around and burn people and cause fires. The 310 and other Twin Cessnas have a notoriously weak nose gear, but that rarely does much besides cause the pilot to jump out of the plane and start cursing post-landing.

    The 172RG/182RG/210 are concerning with their design and execution. There's not really any benefit to using hydraulics vs. an electric design, especially since the hydraulic pump is electrically driven. The safety record concerns me as well.

    As with anything, you pays your money and you takes your chances.
     
  20. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    the service bulletin was pre-existing. that problem is related to the nose gear downlock pins, not the hydraulic system. They never did make an AD out of it, but i got a nice propeller for the garage wall.
     
  21. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    I understand that it's an issue and a known problem. I'd say I'm pretty careful when it comes to this kind of thing. In additional to annuals I usually get a 100hr at about the 6 month mark of the annual for peace of mind on things like that, in additional to all the AD compliances. I personally have seen Mooney gears collapse on landing too. But wheels have also fallen off of fixed gear aircraft so in essence it's all a moot point. I've never been in a situation like yours, and I hope I never am. I have had the gear down light not illuminate once and that was plenty for me. Maybe I'll put one of my survival blankets in the back seat instead of the cargo hold.
     
  22. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    I know you constrained your POV to renting, but for owning I bet you my bottom recreational penny I can acquire, mantain and operate a straight leg 182 for less than a 172RG and both will do my "85% mission" at the same speed +/- 5kts. The difference in gas for the same speed is 2GPH. It doesn't even come close to compensating for the multiplicity of maintenance items that retractable system brings to the table, from microswitches, to fiery bombs er hydraulic packs to expensive pivot inspection ADs and their potential replacement costs. Like Rusty said, that thing was built to check a box on a commercial ticket, the rest is noise out the tailpipe.

    It comes down to risk tolerance. I'm willing to fly my family in a piston single plane, so at least we're in the same company. I'm not so tolerant of having to consider an emergency speed down and burning my wife's or child's legs under a KNOWN design flaw that's a function of fleet age and the constraints endemic to swing gear in a high-wing planform. To me, that's not worth 10kts. Others may not be as averse. Dave's account is sobering though and it's enough for me to cross them out of my consideration for a family plane I wish to fly my loved ones with any level of frequency. Could I experience an engine failure in a straight legged 182 due to carb icing or water on the bladders? Of course. But at least I won't burn myself on the way down. To each their own I guess.
     
  23. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    I hear you and completely understand. Just to keep in mind those costs you outlined are fixed costs for the retract. The fuel/oil difference I've found to be closer to 4-5gph personally. I have no clue what amount of time would be for the cheaper variable costs to make up for the fixed costs, and am in no ways saying the cutlass is cheaper.

    There's the personal part I like more though which is just that a 172 is perfect on the weight controls for me and I enjoy the speed and ego boost the gear gives me. I agree to each their own.
     
  24. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I think the difference is that landing gear failing to go down isn't likely to cause a fire or kill you. But a system that is prone to blowing hot, flammable fluid around in flight...
     
  25. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII Final Approach

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    Great little RG for doing the commercial training. 40% more $ per hour to rent at the club than a Skyhawk.
     
  26. AdamZ

    AdamZ Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How about the Cardinal RG is that a different system?
     
  27. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Good question. I have no familiarity with it, so that's a question for the owners/A&Ps.
     
  28. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Nope. According from excerpts in articles in CFO, the early gear design was horrendous (having to do with a gratuitous amounts of microswitches and complexity for no value gained) and then they made 3 generations worth of improvements culminating in the '76 and later models which incorporate a "210 style gear system". Yep, 210. That's the improvement....

    I found an article way back when on the web where it focused entirely on the gear history of the 177RG, when I was considering it for a keeper airplane. The result of that search led me to discard the RG as an option. I wished I had saved the PDF.

    Though not many complaints were thrown around when I was renting an 177RG in the year 2000, plenty of belly aching about having to pop circuit breakers and constantly running pumps and the implied inflight fire hazard it posed. Which is in essence the identical complaint thrown about the 172RG. The only reason IMO the gutless cutlass gets a worse rap is that it's more common. had the 177RG become the complex trainer of choice I bet you it'd see the same bad reputation by function of use. I consider them identical systems for the purposes of gauging ownership decisions.
     
  29. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It has been a couple years since I flew one, but pretty sure the system is pretty similar, at least for the mains. Nose gear is a bit different in the Cardinal.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  30. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't know if it is simply because it is more common. I have flown both and the Cardinal was a better handling airplane, much more comfortable, had a greater useful load, easier to get in and out of and the best visibility of any Cessna piston single.

    I think you are correct in that if the 177RG had been the trainer of choice, the overall condition of the fleet would be much worse. 172RGs seemed to be on par with Arrows in that regard.




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  31. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    177RG powerpack is in the tailcone a much more accessible location. The 177RG have always been a powerpack design unlike the 210's.

    I'm not sure what PSI the engine driven pumps in the early 210's run at but that sure seems like a recipe for spraying an uncontrolled fine mist in the airplane from leaks without an unloading valve. I don't think you could stop it until the system ran out of fluid. The powerpack, assuming the breaker can be pulled, you could stop it.



    Just imagine if it were a skydrol mist spewing into the cabin.:hairraise:
     
  32. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ok, so the general gear design is similar, but the powerpack is located in the back and not up front like the 172RG?

    I know a few Cardinal owners I have talked to seem to be most concerned about losing the fluid and many have installed a back up reservoir in the back just for such an event
     
  33. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    I'm part owner of a 1971 Cardinal RG. I've never heard of a hydraulic fluid fire in a Cardinal. The closest a hydraulic line gets to the engine is the nose wheel wheel.

    The hydraulic motor is in the tail cone.

    The '71 gear system is in fact pretty tricky. Like all high wing retract Cessna's the gear really wants to stay up and has to be forced down. Other airplanes have the opposite design.

    Like all retractable light aircraft, the C177RG at each annual needs to be jacked up, the gear cycled under close observation, and any anomalies addressed.

    Having said that the '71 system is not 'horrendous'.


    You were flying a dangerous poorly maintained aircraft. Probably kind of like most C172RG rental pigs. There was little fire danger, but a gear up is certain in that airplane. The main gear circuit breaker never pops in a properly maintained Cardinal.

    In particular, the hydralic pump runs only during gear cycles. A constantly running hydraulic pump is an emergency situation. Most owners have done what we've done, and spent $65 on the STC'd gear motor operation light. If the light stays on then and only then do you pull the gear motor circuit breaker, land as soon as practiable and get the system worked on by a mechanic with Cardinal experience.


    Like lots of guys, I earned my commercial in a C172RG.

    The C177RG is a far better airplane than the C172RG, there really isn't any comparison.

    In fact, for many missions it's the best single Cessna ever made.
     
  34. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    Can you explain why? On paper they're almost the exact same, Better t/o performance but only 45lbs more useful load w/ full fuel, and about 5knots faster. Is it in how it feels or what?
     
  35. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    The C177RG has a much larger cabin, and much larger doors. It has essentially the same wing as the C210. The cabin is actually slightly wider than that in the C182.

    The slotted stab gives better pitch control than plain elevators. The ailerons are light and responsive.

    Best of all: The wing is mounted behind the pilot's head! This give outstanding visibility, far better than the older, uglier Cessna single cousins.

    After flying a Cardinal I find that C172/182 airplanes make me feel like I'm in a nuclear submarine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  36. AdamZ

    AdamZ Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Good thread good information. So from what I'm hearing it sounds as though in a Cessna single RG the hydraulic system pressurizes to put and keep the gear up. Correct? Where as most other makes pressurize the system to put the gear down. Correct?

    If that's the case wouldn't a good emergency procedure when there is a situation such as what David experienced or a fire caused by the hydraulic system be to put the gear down, thus pumping the hydraulic fluid back into the resivoir and depressurizing the system?
     
  37. W. Stewart

    W. Stewart Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not exactly. Most other (low wing retractable) planes that use hydraulics for gear transit require pressure to retract the gear. An uplock holds it up. If one loses hydraulic fluid, the gear can still use gravity to lower, once the gear handle is moved to the down position.

    The Cessna retracts require hydraulic pressure to transit the gear up or down. If one loses hydraulic fluid and the handle is moved to the down position, the main gear just falls into a trailing position. (Some have been successful at pulling it forward with a towbar).

    The Cessna system only runs the pump when it sense low pressure, like when called upon to move the gear up or down, but also an occasional blip now and then to maintain pressure. As mentioned higher up in this thread, many owners have installed a light to indicate when the pump is running. (I installed one on my 177RG, but have not yet on my 210. My mechanic thinks that I can hear the pump running in the 210, but he does not know my ears). The thinking behind the light would be to indicate if one were losing hydraulic fluid so that the gear might be lowered before all the fluid is pumped overboard, as one cannot even pump the gear down manually if the fluid is exhausted.

    Wells
    (quite comfortable with the Cessna retracts)
     
  38. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    There are no up-locks for having the gear up, but does it lock into place for gear down? i.e If you are beginning to lose hydraulic pressure and you bring the gear down; if you lose the rest of the pressure the gear won't being to trail again?
     
  39. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No uplocks on Pipers. the Hyd. system has to hold, or the pump runs again. That's why "gravity" drop usually works.
    For the gutless Cutlass reason the pump and reservoir are located so high on the pilot side of the firewall-is for bleeding purposes. It would make no sense to NOT have the reservoir at the TOP of the system. But of course that makes adding hyd fluid akin to doing panel wiring. Difficulty factor is a 3.0.

    Putting it in the tailcone or nosebay in a twin (Seneca) makes much more engineering sense.
     
  40. W. Stewart

    W. Stewart Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't know if the answer is the same across all models of Cessna retracts. I believe that there are locks at both up and down positions and hydraulic pressure is required to fully transit between the two.

    Wells
    (not an A&P)