Preliminary results of the ERAU PA-28 accident

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by jbrinker, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Heh. We all joke about that, but have you seen what the guide-slope was the Shuttle used? That thing truly was a brick with wings. A very cool brick with wings, but it was coming down... fast.

    22 degrees. Yee haw.
     
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  2. dykedelta5@aol.com

    dykedelta5@aol.com Filing Flight Plan

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  3. Todd82

    Todd82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Are the cherokee 140's, Warriors, and Archers the same (possibly faulty?) design as the Arrows if SHTF AD wise?
     
  4. cmsuav8r

    cmsuav8r Filing Flight Plan

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  5. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The cockpit approach video of that is really fun to watch. They begin the flare at 1500 AGL and extend the gear at 200 AGL!
     
  6. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Imagine flying a traditional ILS approach and crossing the outer marker at 14,000' AGL ...
     
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  7. deyoung

    deyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They did training in a modified Gulfstream that they flew with the thrust reversers deployed (among other things) to simulate the shuttle's glide profile and handling...
     
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  8. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    The shuttle - deeply flawed, expensive, limited in utility, yet a great milestone, and a fascinating machine. . .
     
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  9. oilburner

    oilburner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The shuttle was very complex. Two complete losses out of 135 total flights made it pretty risky to fly, also.
     
  10. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Since we transitioned from Piper wings coming off and moved to the space shuttle... I only recently got to be up close next to one up at the Museum by Los Angeles.. that thing is much bigger than it looks in photos.. I was impressed by its sheer size

    Really, an incredible piece of technology.

    The Russian Buran was it interesting piece of technology also.. looks like there's one left in a museum in Germany and the other two are rotting in the desert..
     
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  11. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Interestingly enough, both of those losses were not directly the fault of the shuttle itself, but more the solid rocketd and external fuel tanks. For such a remarkable piece of technology the massive weak link in the chain were the tank and boosters. Shame
     
  12. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Ok I'll bite as well on the space shuttle..:) I think it was 1989, got to get close, touching close to a shuttle. Had a Finnish engineering student with me (business trip don't remember what we were in the field for, servicing track drills I think) next thing I know he was posing in front of the shuttle and I was taking pictures of him with his hand on the side of the fuselage..:)

    Very cool, he had fun..:)
     
  13. deyoung

    deyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I saw the one (Atlantis, I think) at Kennedy Space Center when I was in Florida last. Impressive in person, I completely agree.

    (The family wanted to do Disney; I said "would you be offended if I drop you there, and me spend the day at KSC instead?" It was recognized that everyone involved would be happier that way... :) )
     
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  14. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    My favorite sky watching story involves the space shuttle. One afternoon I was driving home from work, on an east-west main road in Plano. It was wintertime, a clear day, and it was about 30 minutes before sunset.

    I was westbound and stopped at a light, and happened to take a glance at the sky, looking south. I spotted an object moving from west to east across the sky, and it was going incredibly fast. The object was really bright, as the setting sun was reflected off of its skin.

    It took just a few seconds to realize I was seeing the space shuttle, and it was deorbiting on its way to landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    The light turned green, and I was weaving through traffic and busting the speed limit to get home. I was just 1.5 miles from home, and in less than five minutes I was pulling into my driveway.

    I ran inside and turned on the NASA channel. Less than six minutes had passed since the shuttle had passed from my field of view, heading southeast to home base at KSC.

    It took me just a few seconds to find the NASA channel, and when it came up the screen was filled with the image of the shuttle on final. Less than a minute later it touched down and rolled to a stop.

    I was so excited my heart was pounding. The shuttle was on the runway at KSC, and just a few minutes before that I was watching it fly over Plano. It had traveled just over 1,000 miles in those few minutes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  15. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, as long as we're talking about the shuttle, I guess I'll just put this here...

    Shuttle pilot extraordinaire.jpg

    So, yeah, you could say I touched the Shuttle. From the inside. ;) This was about 12 years ago. It's not a flyable shuttle, it was the full-size training mockup one they had at JSC.

    Dang thing had a lot of switches... I think the only part I could probably operate was the audio panel. :rofl:
     
  16. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    In 2014, I had the chance to do some automotive testing on the SLF runway at Kennedy Space Center. Got to see and touch the final nose-wheel stop mark for Atlantis, on the very last mission. The end of an incredible era.

    Hallowed ground, and sobering to think of the lives lost.

    IMG_1022.jpg IMG_1019.jpg
     
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  17. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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  18. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    I'm no expert - did hear one say "It might not lift much, or get very high, but at least it was fantastically expensive". The "System" did kill two crews, but that's kinda harsh to judge on a cutting edge (at the time) vehicle.
     
  19. Daniel Longo

    Daniel Longo Filing Flight Plan

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  20. Daniel Longo

    Daniel Longo Filing Flight Plan

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    As a new pilot I'm a little perplexed at the reactions to this AD. The PA-28 is the 4th most manufactured airframe in history, with over 32,778 to-date. This seems to be a lot of hyperventilating for a very unique set of circumstances. You'd think PA-28s were falling out of the sky on a daily basis. What am I missing here?
     
  21. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Two reasons, at least in my opinion

    1.) wings aren't supposed to fall off planes, especially not your basic slow piston plane. Losing a wing in most planes is a guaranteed death sentence. That's like losing your steering column in a car, or losing your brakes. Imagine if just one car had its steering column fail? There'd be a strong reaction to that too. Remember the Toyota brake thing? That was also a very unique set of circumstances and driven mostly by idiots who jammed their floormat under the pedal, yet we saw a crazy freak out there too

    2.) at a deeper level, because there are so many out there of this plane, exactly to your point, there is an understandable concern that if there is some structurally critical cracking that manifests after so many hours / cycles / whatever / or that there does exist a unique set of circumstances that cause the wing to shed, then you would want to catch and identify that to keep the rest of the fleet safe.. even if the set of circumstances is unique, it still happened and took place so it benefits to learn from it. It also didn't take place during pipeline inspection (the last wing failure of a Piper) or after having flown into a storm, etc.. the plane was doing something remarkably benign when the wing came off, and it snapped off very obviously at the wing attachment.. so scrutiny into what should be the strongest part of the plane is entirely warranted. I think the AD is very pragmatic. It basically doesn't effect privately owned and operated planes, only those that are exposed to this similar set of unique "abusive" training environment

    I love low wings and most of my flying until the last two years was in Pipers.. but losing a wing is unacceptable in my book.. and, what's further unacceptable (even more unacceptable really), was ERAU's failure to catch and identify what was clearly a pre-existing defect
     
  22. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    You're missing nothing. People do indeed hyperventilate, and there are others who get defensive about those of us who criticize ERAU for socializing losses here. It is what it is, humans aren't ice cream, we can't be everything to everyone.

    The concern regarding the proposed AD will be the invasive nature of the inspection, especially if it leads to a permanent repetitive inspection without change to the current destructive inspection methodology. I certainly wouldnt own an airplane that calls for repetitive spar bolt invasion. I'd be ok with a dye test or inspection that does not call for disassembly.

    The factor hours calculation make it so that airplanes without 100 hour inspections are pretty much never gonna hit the threshold, and as the owner of an arrow that fits that criteria I'm certainly pleased with the manner of nuance the FAA is exercising in this proposal. It certainly feels like a more educated way of going about it based on the 1985? wing pulling AD folly of yesteryear.

    But as you correctly have pointed out, the AD isn't even out and people are already losing their minds. Let alone those who feel it is unfair that airplanes who come under the threshold and with original spars and logbook are being exempted (basically the everybody should eat the expense that ERAU created by proxy argument).

    I feel safe in flying behind my NA individual magnetos lycoming cylinder arrow, with family on board. This ERAU spar boondoggle hasnt changed that calculus for me. Not everybody will be there and thats fine. Its only when we let that hysteria drift the narrative to that of invasive actions that create problems where there are none, that I feel compelled to pipe up and tell people to grab a paper bag and breathe into it. The point of this AD is to gather data so that people like @Tantalum can have peace of mind with respect to this being a ERAU problem, vice a PA28 problem. In that regard I welcome the AD and I think its being done reasonably.

    Ultimately, the option is there to not fly airplanes you're not comfortable with, or even not fly at all. No shame in that. Just don't legislate my freedoms with your fears.
     
  23. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    A.) love the quote "legislate freedom with fears" <- unfortunately that's a very common tactic in the world.. unfortunately it works.. even though reason should prevail
    B.) I still occasionally fly a Piper when the Cirrus is down or busy, but, the plane I fly (same one I have about 80 hrs in and did my IR in) is also owner operated and used mostly as a rental, or instrument platform.. so it's generally not abused
    C.) the flipside to this is, that despite decades of abuse from all types of pilots, only two wing failures could be seen as a positive. The only trick here is that while other planes have lost wings they were in highly unusual phases of flight, or in some kind of upset situation. This occurred during climb out, which is why it feels particularly insidious (I still wonder if there was some dude in his dorm that night wondering if the "trick" he was showing his buddy the day before may have had something to do with it)
     
  24. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Working on selling our Warrior to a local club. The ruling members of the club brought this proposed AD up in a meeting. Their concern was the expenses of replacing wing spars if it failed inspection. I had not read the proposed AD and was not as familiar with it as I should have been. The members of the club were definitely not familiar with it either. I brought the logs home yesterday because I know the plane started life as a trainer up in TN. I counted 34 100 hour inspections and used that in the math. The plane has roughly 5200 hours TT. The formula put the factored time in service at approx 3200 hours, 1800 hours under the threshold for the inspection. I then did the math into the future assuming no further 100 hour inspection. Even at 10,500 hours TT it would not meet the threshold for inspection.

    An interesting thing in the logs was that many of the "100 hour inspections" were done at annual time and signed by an A&P and then immediately signed off as annualed by an IA. This doesn't really strike me as an actual 100 hour inspection. I suppose if it was still being used in training it is.
     
  25. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think that is the key with this accident. The two killed were operating the aircraft properly in the flight envelope by a large margin. They were not the cause of the inflight failure. Its one thing if I fly a plane into a thunderstorm, get in a graveyard spiral, or am doing aerobatics and overstress the aircraft to cause structural damage. But no one should expect a catastrophic inflight breakup during normal operations. That reveals either a fatigue or design issue that was not caught in time to prevent a fatal accident. The inspections are necessary to see how widespread the issue is, and determine how and when it was caused.
     
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  26. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Pre-takeoff checklist

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  27. Tantalum

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    Yep! And that's exactly what bugs me the most. There's an effort to blame ERAU, which obviously it appears they should carry, but this is just as worrisome to me as if the steering wheel in your car just came off in your hands on the highway doing 75
     
  28. Tantalum

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    Indeed, but this plane was not doing aerobatics when it lost a wing.
     
  29. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    My alma mater, which shall remain unnamed, had an issue when it came to light that some students had been attempting to roll and loop one of the school aircraft. Several student's parents threatened lawsuits against the school.

    The steering wheel analogy doesn't even scare me as much as a wing coming off. At least the car I could still brake and have some chance of survival. Wing comes off in flight, there is nothing left to do but watch the ground come up and smite you. That is honestly my biggest nightmare as a pilot.
     
  30. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    True, but what seems a bit murky is what it was doing before this flight. One could certainly see a scenario where it was abused through lousy landings, unauthorized aerobatics or there was maintenance performed improperly. To say there is a design defect is very premature and not fact based. The sheer number of flight operations, including a very high percentage of training flights with only two separations suggest there is not a design flaw.

    Having said all that, the proposed AD attempts to filter out planes with a higher likelihood of wear. Unfortunately, it's putting a black mark on the airframe overall, that I don't think is deserved.
     
  31. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    One thing's for sure: When it comes time to sell my Arrow, I'll include the factored hours in the listing. Even if the proposed AD is scrapped, I like having an FAA-approved measurement of airframe abuse that, for my plane, happens to be very low. :)
     
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  32. Baron62

    Baron62 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are over 20,000 of the cherokees still flying today with very little wing issues considering the millions of hours of use and abuse. It is a terrific design and that is why they still sell them today.

    Any airplane can be abused beyond intended limits with non visisble cracks or damage occuring. The next pilot coming along may have no idea about the airplane abuse history and be the unfortunate guy to deal with it.

    Look at the pilots who fly VFR into IMC without training and then proceed to pull the wings or tail off.
     
  33. hindsight2020

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    My arrow is on that boat as well, but I think you'll find out that the ACS did more for the arrows loss of marketing power than whatever knee jerk hysteria about pa28 wings falling off. Turbo arrow owners will not see much of an impact, its the low calendar year high 100 hr inspection count NA rental arrows that are gonna get clobbered.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  34. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree. I got my Avionics Line Maintenance Certificate there, and you had to pay them for the privilege of taking the pre-A&P knowledge qualifying exam. Luckily, I got my A&P at a community college where I had to buy books and gas, and my tuition was $1.00 per semester. Also, their rental rates were astronomical, and they flew with a CFI and 3 students (not one) per plane. And the rental fee was per student, as far as I could tell. But, no one is forcing them to learn there!