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I almost became # 13....The crash that did not happen!!!

Discussion in 'FAA News, Opinion and Articles' started by Richard Wyeroski, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. Richard Wyeroski

    Richard Wyeroski Hangar Gold Member I

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    I was coming back from a cross country with my student in his Cessna 150. As we were getting ready to descend to land, I noticed the aircraft began to oscillate up and down. I told the student to relax and not to be so rough on the controls. He said he did not doing anything and the plane feels real funny. As I took control of the aircraft, my student yelled out that the elevator was flopping around. As I looked around I noticed to my horror that the left side of the elevator vibrating up and down. I immediately slowed the aircraft. My situation was not good. Any movement of the control wheel cause the aircraft to vibrate and oscillate up and down more. The landing runway was in front of me.....slowing the aircraft helped to cut down on the vibration. I elected to not move the control wheel.....the descent was controlled by reducing the throttle slightly....a 150 foot a minute descent was set up on a long 7 mile straight in approach....no flaps were used at all, as that would have pitched the nose of the aircraft down causing the broken elevator to rise up into the slip stream and causing the aircraft to crash right then and there.....I called in an emergency over the unicom frequency 122.80 and the pilots in the pattern and approaching the the airport called in that they were getting out of the way....There was no time for any emergency vehicles to respond, because we had time for only one approach.....applying any power would surly send the little 150 out of control......I had visions of the left side of the elevator bending into the slip stream and sending us into the ground.....and becoming the 13th crash on Long Island this year!

    Minutes from landing, holding the the Cessna as stable as I could, I approached the runway still in a slight decent of 150' per minute....the aircraft was stabilized and the landing would be a little hard on touch down....at about 5 feet above the runway I kept the power in and landed flat and a little hard without moving the elevator.....We were down....

    So what happened? what failed ...? First off....I am writing about this event for all to read because a failure of an aircraft elevator is the worst control to lose. So luck and help from above immediately slowing the aircraft and not using landing flaps ( THE USE OF ANY FLAPS WOULD HAVE CAUSED THE AIRCRAFT TO CRASH) made this landing survivable.....I am here to write this........and it's one for the books....!

    The bolt (38A) holding the elevator in place became loose and fell out....the picture below shows the hardware

    [​IMG]

    Contacting the NTSB
    The procedure required with a control failure per rule 830 is to call the NTSB hotline and report the failure as soon as practical....The Pilot in Command is directed by regulation to do this or be in violation. The reason is a control failure is very serious and an immediate investigation will be launched by the NTSB.

    The Cessna 150 tail assembly.....
    upload_2016-8-14_21-29-39.jpeg

    The investigation begins..............................
     
  2. Everett 757

    Everett 757 Hangar Silver Member VI

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    WOW, Richard! What an experience. I'm sure glad you made it down safely, and because of that you are still with us. That was scary for sure. :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:
     
  3. Richard Wyeroski

    Richard Wyeroski Hangar Gold Member I

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    ....happened yesterday at around 2PM....I wrote it because I hope the first hand info will help anyone else that may get into this situation......
     
  4. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    Holy Sh!t Batman! Good job Rich! Very glad you're still with us. Phewww! Years of experience and Knowledge pays off! What Alt, AGL were ya at when this started? Kinda good thing you were in a relatively slow plane(C-150) huh? Was your student (and others) rightfully impressed after? :):);)
     
  5. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    You're one of the only people to know what a plane really feels like in that situation, and is alive to tell about it. You ran a clinic yesterday! :cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  6. Flytdeck

    Flytdeck Hangar Bronze Member VI

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    Outstanding decision making in a very stressful situation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and actions.
     
  7. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    Good thing he still can! ;)
     
  8. Drjohn

    Drjohn Hangar Bronze Member II

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    Hey Rich, serious business, congrats on your piloting skill, coolness, and
    Incident interpretation. Skill shows!
     
  9. Drjohn

    Drjohn Hangar Bronze Member II

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    I could never be an instructor. Reason; I simply do not like to fly other people's equipment. And sometimes even ride in them. I suppose I'm strange that way! Anyone want an excellent 310. We've upgraded to a 340.
     
  10. Flytdeck

    Flytdeck Hangar Bronze Member VI

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    Sweet....
     
    Everett 757, Drjohn, xnwa and 2 others like this.
  11. Richard Wyeroski

    Richard Wyeroski Hangar Gold Member I

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    .....I have to say in all my flying I never had a control failure. (except when I left the gust lock on the rudder.....brain failure!)

    That night I thought how close I came to being number 13 on Long Island that day. Cessna has an excellent control system. I fly one 152 with almost 16,000 hours. It flies well and has had a hard life with a few crashes and it is on it's 3rd engine.

    Control failures like this a rare and the the reason NTSB wants an immediate call per rule 830, the accident reporting hotline. It is maned 7/24/365!

    So as soon as I find out how this could have happened I will let you all know.

    Thanks for all your well wishes and concern my friends

    Rich..........
     
  12. Richard Wyeroski

    Richard Wyeroski Hangar Gold Member I

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    I agree with you. However I fly private aircraft. I look over the books and make recommendations as to maintenance and train the owner to take care of his aircraft. We work together on preventive maintenance and repairs.

    As we know aviation is a learning experience. We all are always learning and asking questions.........
     
  13. xnwa

    xnwa Hangar Bronze Member III

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    Obviously, your experience as pilot and A&P/AI made the difference between a safe landing and disaster. Good job! ...Question, how is bolt 38a supposed to be secured?
     
  14. Richard Wyeroski

    Richard Wyeroski Hangar Gold Member I

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    The bolt goes into a nut plate that is a self locking nut. The nut plate is welded into position. The bolt is torqued and is "almost fail safe"

    I have to say that this is the only incident of it's kind that myself and many of my friends have ever known. It is not suppose to happen?
     
  15. Richard Wyeroski

    Richard Wyeroski Hangar Gold Member I

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    .....Well I notified the NTSB IAW CFR 49.830.1 The FAA FSDO office that has jurisdiction over the aircraft was noticed on Monday morning also. I had meeting with the A&P Mechanic and the IA that returned the aircraft to service. So all the reporting is done and it is August, so many of the inspectors and managers are on vacation.

    My responsibility in it all is that I was the Pilot in Command giving flight instruction to the owner of the aircraft. I should have "maybe" noticed that the bolt was not secure. However for anyone that has done a preflight on a Cessna 150. Inspection of this bolt is a hassle and hard to see...Maybe" if it was loose.

    FAA has been know to shoot the messenger, and lord knows there are a few managers in the FAA's Eastern Regional office that would love to get me!

    So the saga begins and I will keep everyone informed as to the investigation and it's out come.

    How ever it is needless to say that I am cynical and ready for anything coming my way. If it stinks.....I will be on the air ;)
     
  16. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    Ya never know Rich, Evil can lurk about for an opportunity to 'kill the messenger' in many places. Sounds very 'Clintonian' to me. Watch yer back and don't change your name to 'Vince', involuntarily. That wouldn't 'Foster' a good outcome, right? Btw, this 'almost impossible to explain condition on its own' little incident conveniently happened AFTER you made and they published your last TWA-800 video? o_O ps: Also makes me wonder why yer old FAA 'buddy' suddenly came in here for the first time after all these years and left just as fast?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  17. Richard Wyeroski

    Richard Wyeroski Hangar Gold Member I

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    Well, I have always said and believed the whistleblowing is not for the faint of heart. They can never take away my knowledge.

    NTSB has contacted me about this incident. It will be considered an accident because of control damage. The FAA has been out and did their inspection. It seems they are all over it because it is a failure that should not fail?

    In addition FAA does not care about the pilot. It is the innocent people on the ground that could have been hurt if the aircraft did not make it back. That is what the FAA is concerned about. That is policy. Pilot and passenger loss is third on the list. The innocent public is first!
     
  18. Lord Leighton

    Lord Leighton Hangar Gold Member I

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    Except when it comes to pilots of cargo planes that do NOT have to follow the same rest rules that commercial A/C pilots do. :confused:
     
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  19. Richard Wyeroski

    Richard Wyeroski Hangar Gold Member I

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    NOTE::

    Correction to action taken to land an aircraft with elevator control problems..

    Sorry folks in my haste to write this procedure, I made a small mistake. It is .....applying flaps will cause the nose of the aircraft to rise and forward elevator and trim is always required to correct this to keep the airspeed constant. Had I added flaps and systematically lowered the nose the front part of the failed elevator would have moved up ? Or down depending force required with the use of flaps...and the aircraft possibly would have went out of control.....so "NO USE OF FLAPS WHAT SO EVER" is a good procedure in the event of a failure like this....:oops:


    Thanks

    Rich
     
  20. David Barnshaw

    David Barnshaw Hangar Gold Member I

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    Thanks for that note Rich-I shall concentrate more on my clubs C152 'back ends' in the future when I'm doing the pre-flights.
     
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