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  #1  
Old 04-10-2012, 06:31 AM
DeltaRomeo DeltaRomeo is offline
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Default Thoughts on Getting Out ...by Terry Lutz

"As you might be aware, there was an accident at Duxford last year, where during a break to downwind the No. 2 pilot, flying a Skyraider, lost sight of his leader, flying a P-51. The wing of the Skyraider hit the belly of the Mustang, jamming the controls. The pilot was forced to bail out at very low altitude. He made it because he was very well prepared to do so.

There was a similar accident a few years ago, where two RVs ran together after the break to downwind. It was in Illinois, I believe, and it was fatal for at least one pilot.

The reason that I am passing this along is mainly for the food for thought among our RV community. Here are some of the things I see as key points:
- The pilot was ready. He had thought in advance what he had to do, and did it flawlessly.

- The canopy came off cleanly. This is something the RV community should work on. I have looked at the comments about this, and I'm not sure that release pins on each side for a slider are going to work because the canopy is still attached to the rail at the back. I don't have a solution for that, nor do I know what can be done for a tip-up. For the slider, it might be as simple as fixed handles on either side so you can jerk the canopy back positively, and hold with one hand until you are out (the other hand going for your parachute D-ring).

- The Mustang pilot hit his head on the horizontal tail as he went out, but he was wearing a helmet. The helmet he had was made in New Zealand. The folks that make them were at Oshkosh last year, and I spent some time talking to them. Good equipment, but at $2600, it's out of range for most of us. The RV community could do the research and find a company that can make good helmets for a reasonable price.

- Final point is about comm cords. If you are wearing a nice David Clark headset or similar, and you have to get out fast, it is going to jerk your head a bit when you come to the end of your comm cord. The standard plugs are not designed to quick release. If you look at the expensive helmets from New Zealand, and at military gear, you will notice a quick-disconnect about a foot from your head. The plugs are commercially available, and one thing we could do as a community is develop a conversion for headsets cords that installs the quick-disconnect. That is one step toward a safer and possibly successful exit."
Terry Lutz flies an RV-8 and an Airbus A380

Last edited by DeltaRomeo : 04-10-2012 at 06:34 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2012, 07:40 AM
Andy Hill's Avatar
Andy Hill Andy Hill is offline
 
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The accident report, including photos, is at AAIB Link

Over Terry's piece, there is one specific recommendation that might be considered as a "key point":
Quote:
Safety Recommendation 2011-083It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority considers, where a parachute is worn as safety equipment, whether the provision of an automatic means of operating the parachute would provide a safety benefit.
Re Helmets, I would echo a good idea. One can argue about the various makes / brands, but I would think in practice any helmet, even a non aviation one, is better than none. I use various (Alpha Eagle 900 in the RV with quick disconnect fitting), and apart from the aspect above where a parachute might be fairly useless without a helmet, the helmet is also a potential life saver in accidents not involving abandonment.
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2012, 07:53 AM
jump4way jump4way is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaRomeo View Post
" - The Mustang pilot hit his head on the horizontal tail as he went out, but he was wearing a helmet. The helmet he had was made in New Zealand. The folks that make them were at Oshkosh last year, and I spent some time talking to them. Good equipment, but at $2600, it's out of range for most of us. The RV community could do the research and find a company that can make good helmets for a reasonable price.[/i]
There is an RV7 builder here by the name of CFrisella that started out as a helmet manufacturer. I've used his helmets for various activities in the past and they are second to none. I don't know if he has a helmet specific to aviation or not though. Hopefully he will chime in and let us know what he has in the department.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:00 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
 
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My gut reaction is that automatic activation of a chute may be as undesirable as automatic activation of a life jacket in the event of a ditching... Last thing you want is for it to try and fire the pilot chute off your back before you leave the plane, and then get caught in something on the way out.

I do have a helmet that I wear for formation, a used Alpha helmet that I picked up second hand. Mostly because it looks Sierra Hotel, of course. But I can't argue that it doesn't increase my safety.

As for in-flight egress, I don't own a chute and am not convinced that the tip-up would leave the aircraft in-flight anyway. But others I fly with do have the removable pins on their sliders, and having looked at that arrangement I'm reasonably certain that pulling the pins and then pulling the canopy back an inch before pushing up would start the removal. Once it starts to go, I'm pretty sure the rear attack point would fail and let the canopy depart. That's all only based on a gut feel engineering analysis and an above-average knowledge of aerodynamics, so don't take it as gospel...
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  #5  
Old 04-10-2012, 04:13 PM
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whittfic whittfic is offline
 
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Default Instead of jettisoning the canopy...

All through my RV6 build I have been reading on this forum about the difficulty (impossibility?) of being able to open the sliding canopy in flight if bailing out ever became necessary. As I understand it in flight the aerodynamic forces are such that the canopy will slide back no more than a couple of inches, no matter how much the pilot struggles to move it.

http://i456.photobucket.com/albums/q.../IMG_0738a.jpg

The attachment shows a view of the fibreglass fairing I have made for my aircraft. I have been pondering the possibility of including some sort of 'air brake' or small drogue chute that could be deployed from this area in an emergency to aid in pulling the canopy back.

I am thinking along the lines of either a small built-in panel that flips up into the airstream to act as a brake, or releasing a sprung loaded drogue, something like that used in a parachute.

No expertise in these matters so only idle musing on my part, and I don't have access to wind tunnels etc for real world testing. This needs the input from the aerodynamic gurus out there to say whether this might work or not.

Clive Whittfield
Auckland
New Zealand
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  #6  
Old 04-10-2012, 04:52 PM
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N355DW N355DW is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whittfic View Post
All through my RV6 build I have been reading on this forum about the difficulty (impossibility?) of being able to open the sliding canopy in flight if bailing out ever became necessary. As I understand it in flight the aerodynamic forces are such that the canopy will slide back no more than a couple of inches, no matter how much the pilot struggles to move it.

http://i456.photobucket.com/albums/q.../IMG_0738a.jpg

The attachment shows a view of the fibreglass fairing I have made for my aircraft. I have been pondering the possibility of including some sort of 'air brake' or small drogue chute that could be deployed from this area in an emergency to aid in pulling the canopy back.

I am thinking along the lines of either a small built-in panel that flips up into the airstream to act as a brake, or releasing a sprung loaded drogue, something like that used in a parachute.

No expertise in these matters so only idle musing on my part, and I don't have access to wind tunnels etc for real world testing. This needs the input from the aerodynamic gurus out there to say whether this might work or not.

Clive Whittfield
Auckland
New Zealand
I think that the idea many of us have on canopy release for a slider is not to have to pull it back all the way, but to use some sort of removable pins instead of bolts in the side rollers. That way, you can pull the pins, pull the canopy back an inch or so - far enough to clear the windshield lip - and then give it a nice shove straight up into the windstream. My guess is the canopy will be gone quickly. It sounds like you might want to be able to open the canopy and keep it on the plane, maybe to prevent damage to the tail? That's fine, but in my case I'm not worried about damage to the airframe if I decide to bail out, and I plan on wearing my parachute at all times. I come from aerobatic planes where we always wore our chutes even when flying cross country, and see no reason to change now. I'll post pictures of what I do when I get to that point in the build.
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  #7  
Old 04-10-2012, 05:04 PM
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LettersFromFlyoverCountry LettersFromFlyoverCountry is offline
 
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I assume we're figuring with tip-up canopies, there's no choice of a bailout, right?
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  #8  
Old 04-10-2012, 05:09 PM
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whittfic whittfic is offline
 
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Default Fair comment Damon

Pulling pins and pushing up on the canopy is as a good a way of egress as any, providing it is possible to overcome the aerodynamic forces holding the canopy in place.

Like you I don't much care what happens to the VS once the decision is made to exit. My thoughts were centred around an alternative possibility if pushing up on the canopy was not going to be sufficient to help it on it's way. If it will work I'm happy to go with removable pins. I'm curious to know if this been tested by anyone?

Clive
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  #9  
Old 04-10-2012, 06:42 PM
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N355DW N355DW is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LettersFromFlyoverCountry View Post
I assume we're figuring with tip-up canopies, there's no choice of a bailout, right?
I am not extremely knowledgeable on the subject, but from my reading here I understand the tip ups can be installed with a jettison handle for the front attach points, however there seems to be differing opinions on whether the gas struts would prevent the canopy from leaving. From personal experience I can tell you the blast from the prop after gunning the engine to start taxiing on a grass runway is enough to blow open and smash a closed but unlatched canopy on an Extra 300L. So my guess is if you can get the airflow in flight underneath any RV canopy, it will be out of your way fairly quickly.

But it's just a guess, to my knowledge no one has jettisoned a canopy in flight from a -6 or -7. I did read a case of a poor fellow who opened the canopy and jumped out of an -8 that I believe was on fire, but unfortunately he was not wearing a parachute.

This is just what I have gotten from searching on this forum. I will be researching it more as I get closer to building my canopy. There are some very smart people involved in aerobatics, and designing and building aerobatic aircraft that I know, and perhaps they will have some good ideas.

I will share them here when I get to that point, it is important to me.
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  #10  
Old 04-10-2012, 08:50 PM
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Assuming the original scenario that Doug posted, why not include the potential of a whole plane parachute (BRS) as an option instead of trying to exit the damaged aircraft?

I know that this topic was batted around before with mixed positions.
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