2009 Accident review - Air Show South Africa

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2009 Accident review - Air Show South Africa

ing at the co-pilot to pull the throttle back butfor some reason he never did and I saw thenose rise into the air. I thought, Oh God herewe go, how are we going to get out of this oneSo I had to make a snap decision. Do I try toland the plane or do I fly round in a circle andland properly? Although I touched down onthe grass, I still managed to keep it under control.All that was left to do was get out and kissthe ground.”The aircraft is designed to use a drag parachuteas a brake, but Prothero did not havetime to deploy it.Several questions remain to be answered:Why wasn’t there a licensed pilot at the controlsin the first place? How was it possible to‘accidently’ open the throttles to full power fora low speed taxi display? Why was the aircrafttaxied at, or near to Vr? Why were the flaps inthe take-off position?Conspiracy theorists claimed that both ofthe occupants of the cockpit were total“turkeys” and not heroes at all and generally,there was a call for the CAA to throw the bookat both of them. The potential for a disasterexisted and a major tragedy was averted by theGrace of God alone.The engineer had been drafted in to controlthe throttles at the air show but then ‘froze’ ata time of high stress. The CAA launched an investigationbecause neither was officially licensedto fly, although it was apparently ‘fine’for them to taxi along the runway as had beenintended.“This is a recognised state of mind whichcan affect certain individuals”, claimed theCAA.If there was a potential as the CAA claim forsuch a situation to exist, surely regulationsshould not have permitted unqualified personnelto even taxi the aircraft.An irate official questioned: “This in a countrythat claims the moral high ground in the applicationof regulations and air show safetystandards. Minimum fuel, no payload, significantcross-wind, unqualified crew and an oldpilot who performed brilliantly to correct hismistake but had failed to respond to thescreaming engine noise in the six to ten secondsit took to achieve take-off speed.“If the terrified engineer failed to react tothe order to close throttles, the pilot shouldhave immediately closed them himself, longbefore they got airborne. Did the AIB instituteregulations to prevent a reoccurrence?”n JULY 4: Aerovodochody L-29 Delfin (California,USA)In a show of regulatory enforcement, theFAA exercised its mandate by issuing anEmergency Order of Revocation againstDouglas Gilliss for falsifying the logbook of52 WORLD AIRNEWS, FEBRUARY 2010.(Daily MailThis Handley Page Victor crescent-wing Cold Warera bomber took off while taxiing during a show inthe UK last year. Neither of the two people in thepilots’ seats were licenced and the incidentoccurred when the “second pilot” slammed thethrottles wide open.“Thankfully, I managed to pitch the plane backtowards the runway and avoid any spectators,” theother “pilot” said afterwards.David Zweigle, saying he had personallychecked Zweigle’s ability to fly the L-29 Delfinwhich crashed, killing Zweigle and hispassenger, retired air force test and airlinepilot, Robert Chamberlain.The order further stated that Gillissoperated his aircraft in an unsafe manner byoverflying a densely populated area below1 000 feet, and carrying a passenger notrequired for the operation of the aircraft, allserious FAR violations.The FAA immediately revoked Gilliss’ ATP,Ground Instructor, and “all other airman certificatesyou may hold”, ordering him to surrenderthem to the FAA immediately or face a$1 100 per day fine. He was also denied fromre-applying for any airman certificate for oneyear.Gilliss and Zweigle had been participating ina July 4 flyover in Tehachapi, California, as partof a three-aircraft formation of AeroVodochody L-29 Delfins. The aircraft ownedand flown by Zweigle, dropped out of the formation,passing over a park and several housesbefore impacting the ground, killing both onboard.Gilliss had signed Zweigle’s logbook sayinghe had checked Zweigle out in the Delfin, butan investigation found that the check ride hadnot occurred.The FAA also cited the FAR conditions of theflyover that prohibit flight below 1 000 feetover a congested area except for the purposeof takeoff or landing, and Gilliss allegedly madetwo passes below that height.Since the L-29 was classified as an experimentalaircraft, carrying passengers was prohibitedduring any demonstration of theaircraft’s “flight capability, performance, or unusualcharacteristics” unless the passengerwas essential for the purpose of the flight. TheFAA claimed that Gilliss violated both of thoseFARs.Gilliss, who flew with the Thunder Delfins,a group of L-29 enthusiasts, told the LA Timeshe would appeal the decision as the flyoverswere conducted at an altitude of 1 200-1 500ft AGL. He also said the planes did not representa danger to the public as they followednearby railroad tracks and did not fly directlyover the city.n JULY 9: North American SNJ/T-6 (Colorado,USA)A consummate SNJ/T-6 pilot, Gary Miller,went down in “Mystical Powers” while engagedin an aerobatic display practice sessionin Colorado. Witnesses told NTSB investigatorsthat they saw the plane pull up vertically andperform a roll before it entered a spin that continueduntil it hit the ground. A fire erupted immediatelyafter impact.Gary was an ATP who had been flying since14 years of age and had been taught to fly byhis father. He had over 800 hours in the SNJ/T-6 and some 2 500 hours total time. He wasReno race qualified and had raced for severalyears and was also an ICAS member with alow-level aerobatic waiver.n JULY 10: Zivco Edge 540 (Missouri, USA)News headline: “Tragedy Strikes Two Pilots,Gary Miller and Chandy Clanton, Practicing forSame Air show”.“Hazards can come at all times and in allforms, and few people know that better thanthose who fly in air shows, if not through theirown occasional moments of peril, then fromthe diminishing ranks of their friends who havegone west”, a media report read.Two outstanding members of the air showcommunity crashed, oddly though, while practicingfor the very same air show.Air show pilot Chandy Clanton, an accomplished36-year-old air show pilot, was killedwhile preparing for the 11 th Tarkio Missouri AirShow. Her Edge 540 went down in a bean fieldduring the practice session for a show plannedfor the following day.The aircraft reportedly “went down hard”while performing what her father called “aggressivemanoeuvres”; the impact was said tobe “Not Survivable” and she was declareddead at the scene. The air show, the ‘WingNuts Flying Circus Fly-In’, continued as scheduledat Gould Peterson Memorial Airport.Clanton was a much celebrated member ofthe US Unlimited Aerobatic Team and flew atthe 2003 World Championships in Lakeland,Florida, where she was the youngest femaleparticipant. Clanton won the ‘Programme Q’flight at the 2007 Championships in Granada,Spain, and was also the only woman named tothe 2003 “Stars of Tomorrow” programme atEAA AirVenture in Oshkosh; in fact, she was theonly “Stars” performer invited back for the2004 and 2005 shows.


n JULY 12: Pitts S-1 (Grossostheim, Germany)The peace at a rural airfield in Germany was shattered as the Pittspulled up into the vertical and then pushed over into a four turn spin tothe left. Although the pilot recovered the aircraft after four turns, therewas insufficient height available to safely affect the recovery pull out.The proverbial extra ‘fifty feet’ would have been adequate for a safe recovery,but alas, was not available.During the recovery pull-out, the aircraft undercarriage struck a carwhich was parked on a road near the airfield; the impact of the collisiontore the undercarriage off the aircraft as it crashed inverted in a nearbyfield.Amazingly, a couple and their 10-year old daughter who were in thecar at the moment of impact, suffered scratches and bruises, but noonehad to be hospitalised, not even the pilot who suffered minor injuries.Clearly guardian angels had a hand in the outcome.n JULY 8: Zlin Z-142 (Budapest, Hungary)A 60-year-old member of the security staff at the Dunakeszi airstrip,five kilometres north of the Hungarian capital, was killed and two othersinjured when the Zlin-142 crashed during a display.The 30-year-old pilot of the Zlin-142 was seriously injured but in stablecondition. Witnesses said the pilot was attempting a final loop atthe end of the show when the accident happened. A child, who wasamong the spectators at the show, was also air lifted to hospital withserious injuries.n AUGUST 15: Polikarpov I-15 (Zhukov Sky, Russia)It was MAKS 2009 and Red 23 had completed his display and landed,but on taxiing back to dispersal, the left wheel entered an unseen holein the ground, and the aircraft tipped over with the spinning propellerchopping into the ground.The pilot was unhurt but the left undercarriage leg was damaged, aswell as the propeller, but otherwise the aircraft seemed undamaged. Itwas recovered and towed away after 40 minutes.n AUGUST 16: Two Sukhoi SU-27 Flanker Russian Knights (Moscow,Russia)A mid-air collision between a single-seat Su-27 Flanker and a twoseatSu-27UB Flanker, occurred during the team’s final rehearsal for Russia’smajor air show, MAKS 2009, the largest and most importantexhibition for Russia’s aerospace industry.The nine-ship formation sequence called for a formation split intotwo elements, a five-ship and a four-ship. The four-ship pulled up intovertical for the split while the five-ship continued ahead, straight andlevel.The intention was for the four-ship to slot back into the formation byshow centre, from behind and below.During the rejoin, the left wingman closed on the lead with excessiveclosing speed and having lost visual contact, pulled up into the leader,impacting his aircraft in the forward fuselage section causing significantstructural damage and causing the leader to lose control of the aircraft.The three pilots ejected from the jets after the collision and rescuersfound two in satisfactory condition, one with a spinal fracture, but thethird was dead. The dead pilot was identified as the Russian Knightsleader, Colonel Igor Tkachenko. An accident investigator stated thatTkachenko died because his parachute caught fire during the ejection.Five residents of the village, where flaming aircraft wreckage impacted,were taken to hospital, one woman was seriously injured andfour buildings damaged, including two destroyed by fire.Prosecutors from the Moscow Military District launched a probe intothe crash with pilot error cited by a Defence Ministry spokesman as a54 WORLD AIRNEWS, FEBRUARY 2010.


possible cause of the crash.The Russian Knights cancelled their performanceat MAKS 2009 although the openingof the MAKS exhibition, continued as scheduled.n AUGUST 22: Zivco Edge 540 (Silverstone,UK)Vicki Cruse, a 40-year old world-class aerobaticchampion and former member of the USNational Aerobatic Team, died in an aircraft accidentduring the 2009 World Aerobatic Championshipsin the United Kingdom. Using aborrowed Zivco Edge 540, an aircraft mechanicalmalfunction apparently occurred during aqualifying flight at Britain’s Silverstone motorracing circuit. She lost control of the aircraftand was too low to bail out.Cruse had previously also competed in theSport Class at the Reno Air Races and was thePresident of the International Aerobatics Club,a member of the Ventura County Ninety-Nines,a branch of the International Organisation ofWomen Pilots and had won the US UnlimitedAerobatics title in 2007.She had also competed in Spain as a memberof the American National Aerobatic Team.EXCELLENCE IN ADVANCED TRAINING43 Advanced Training providesprivate and commercial pilotswith state-of-the-art training.Modular courses allow flexibilityto suit our clients operationalrequirements.Top: After been hit by the wingman, significantdamage was caused to the forward section of theleader’s aircraft. (Dmitry Karpov Pompeya 2009).Above: Mortally wounded and with the pilotejected, the Su-27 Flanker plunges towards theground after colliding with the lead aircraft.(English Russia).n AUGUST 30: Sukhoi SU-27UBM Flanker(Radom, Poland)It is not an understatement to say that thebiennial Radom Air Show, recognised as one ofEurope’s leading air shows, has had its fairshare of air show accidents over the last twoyears. The previous event event, in 2007, wasmarred by a fatal mid-air collision involvingtwo Zlin Z-526 aircraft from the Zelazny AerobaticTeam.In the 2009 event, Belarus, their first everappearance at a Western European air show,provided a Sukhoi Su-27UBM, as well as aSukhoi Su-24 and Ilyushin Il-76.At one point in the routine, as the aircraftclimbed, the pilot half-rolled right to the invertedand then into a split “S”, then rolling leftto a level attitude but he had bled off excessiveenergy before the roll and simply “fell” into thedownward phase, which probably “rattled” thepilot; he ended up with too much workload,poor situational awareness, disorientationcombined with task saturation, as a chain reactionof flying the aircraft to the point wherehe simply had insufficient height and power toclimb out and arrest the descent. The aircraftimpacted the ground in a forest.The crash occurred out of sight from the airshow’s crowds, with a thick plume of blacksmoke seen rising from behind trees on theother side of the airfield. The aircraft, one ofonly four Belarusian Air Force SU-27UBs, killedboth pilots, Col. Alexander Morfintsky deputycommander of an air force unit in western Belarusand Col. Alexander Zhuravlevich, deputycommander of a fighter base. There were noadditional casualties, but the air show flightdisplays were immediately cancelled.There was no ejection and thankfully, therewas no collateral damage despite the fact thatthe aircraft crashed only 100 metres fromhouses; a tragedy was most certainly averted.Leaks from inside the Ministry of Defencesaid that low flight hours of the pilots and inexperiencein air show protocols were the primarycontributing factors.n SEPTEMBER 6: CAP-10B (Montichiari, Italy)Pulling out from the vertical at the Brixia AirShow to celebrate the centenary of the first internationalair show in Brescia in 1909, thepilot entered a positioning turn to the leftwhile the aircraft trajectory was still on thedown line and the aircraft had not recoveredfrom the pull-out.With the lift vector tilted, the vertical contributionto the dive recovery was reducedwhich meant that the aircraft, a CAP-10B, wasunable to avoid impacting the ground. Of thetwo pilots, Marzio Maccarana, 26, was killedWORLD AIRNEWS, FEBRUARY 2010. 55Providing Airline Standard Trainingfor General Aviation.Instructors with extensive experiencein the fields that they train.ADVANCED TRAININGLanseria International AirportJohannesburgSimulator based Type Rating and TurbineConversions,Proficiency / Recurrency, MCC,CRM,Dangerous Goods, etcPostnet Suite 86,Private Bag X4, Lanseria 1748Tel: + 27 11 267 5200Fax: + 27 11 267 5209E-mail: info@43at.co.zawww.43at.co.zaPart of National Airways Corporation (NAC)The force you can trustAn Imperial Company


and Paolo Castellani, 52, was critically injured.Two causal hypotheses are still being examinedby experts: the first was a loss of enginepower at the time of the turn, the second, consideredmost probable, was that the pilotmade a handling error.n SEPTEMBER 7: Experimental Six Chuter SR7(Hooper, Utah, USA)It was about mid-afternoon when an experimentalSix Chuter SR7 unregistered poweredparachute, was substantially damaged when itimpacted the spectator enclosure while manoeuvringnear Hooper, Utah. The pilot and hispassenger sustained minor injuries but twospectators sustained serious injuries and fourpeople sustained minor injuries.The pilot and passenger were conducting aflight over the Hooper Tomato Day’s annualevent to throw candy to a crowd of spectators.The pilot reported that while flying on a westerlyheading, he passed over a set of powerlines and the passenger “started dumpingcandy.”The pilot stated that he then “lost lift” and“could not recover.” Subsequently, the aircraftimpacted the spectator enclosure, and rolledover.One of the first things drilled into display pilotsabout operations near any assembly ofpeople is not to operate the aircraft in such away as to potentially jeopardise the safety ofanyone on the ground. Unfortunately the operatorapparently did not heed that missiveand sport aviation received a ‘black eye’ whenthe ‘candy drop’ resulted in the aircraft goingdown into and injuring the spectators.n SEPTEMBER 22: Ilyushin 76-MD “Simorgh”AWACS and Northrop F-5E Tiger (Tehran, Iran)Above a big military parade, as the Iranianpresident declared Iran’s armed forces would“chop off the hands” of any power daring toattack his country, two air force aircraft collidedin mid-air.One was Iran’s only airborne warning andcontrol system (AWACS) for coordinating longdistanceaerial operations, and the other an escortingNorthrop F-5E Tiger.The parade, which included a march-past, aline of Shehab-3 missiles and an air force flypast,was planned to give Ahmadinejad a dazzlingsend-off for New York and add steel to hisUN Assembly speech.Dubbed “Simorgh” (a flying creature of Iranianfable which performs wonders in midflight),the AWACS’ appearance, escorted byfighter jets, was to have been the climax forthe Iranian Air force’s fly-past over the parade.Instead, it collided with one of the escortingaircraft, a F-5E, and both crashed to the groundin flames.All seven crewmembers of the IL-75 werekilled but the two pilots of the F-5E survivedthe ejection.Eye witnesses reported that the flamingplanes impacted on the mausoleum burial siteof the Islamic revolution’s founder, RuhollahKhomeini, a national shrine. According toWestern observers, no distress signals camefrom either cockpit indicating that the collisionwas sudden and fast.n OCTOBER 7: Mikoyan MiG-23 (Tripoli, Libya)A Libyan Air Force MiG-23 ‘Flogger’ crashedinto a house during the third Libyan AviationExhibition LAVEX, an international air show, atMa’atiqa International Airport, killing the pilotand the co-pilot, both colonels in the LibyanAir Force. One of the casualties was believedto be the commanding officer of 1023Squadron.Three people on the ground, including twowomen, were reportedly injured when theMiG-23 crashed into an eastern suburb ofTripoli, about two kilometres from observationplatforms at the Libyan Aviation Conference &Exhibition, destroying most of the houses theaircraft hit.n NOVEMBER 14: English Electric P1B Lightning(Western Cape, South Africa)Around midday at the South African AirAt CemAir we offer high quality utilityturboprop aircraft to a variety ofoperators throughout Africa and theMiddle East, both as a leasing companyand as an operator. Focusing onreliability, safety and quality, we offerpremium airline operators andhumanitarian organizations the ability togo further and faster into almost anypart of the continent.Based at Lanseria Airport, South Africa,we are ideally positioned to providesupport to our clients. With extensiveexperience with the variety ofchallenges the continent offers we areable to understand your requirementsand meet them in this rapidly changingenvironment.We give our customers the peace ofmind of knowing that their aircraft willarrive on time, every time.www.cemair.co.zaTel: +27 11 659 2171Fax: +27 11 659 2174Hangar 31, Gate 5, Lanseria AirportP O Box 1312, Lanseria, 174856 WORLD AIRNEWS, FEBRUARY 2010.


EXCELLENCE IN PILOT TRAINING60 + Training AircraftThe ill-fated English Electric Lightning seen flying its demonstration shortly before the pilot reportedhydraulic failure. The fire in the tail pipe (arrowed) which grew rapidly is thought to have caused the totalfailure of the aircraft’s hydraulic systems causing the pilot to lose control. He was unable to eject becauseof an ejection seat failure (see also Page 71).The school with the rightenvironment, experience andexpertise to provide quality training.Our goal is to deliver to the industrya solidly trained pilot with a trueoperational capability.Force’s Flight Test Centre, the bi-annual 'TFDCFly-In” was in full swing and the spectators inthe process of being enthralled by the brutepower of the Cold War era English ElectricLightning being flown by Thunder City displayand former SAAF fixed wing test pilot, DaveStock.Coming out of a manoeuvre in a steep turnat show centre, the pilot terminated his displaywith a call to air traffic control that he had indicationsof Hydraulic 1 failure and stated thathe would move to the Overberg Weapons TestRange to burn off fuel before returning forlanding.Very shortly after the first radio call, afterhaving extended the undercarriage as per theemergency procedures, he calmly announcedthe failure of Hydraulic 2 system and realisingthat ejection was now the only option, he announcedhis intentions to eject.Not long after that announcement and afterthree ejection attempts, he called: “ejectionseat failure”.Nearly simultaneously, the aircraft pitchednose down and entered a steep spiral descent,impacting on the weapons range several secondslater.Very sadly, realising his impending fate, heonce again calmly requested the air traffic controllerto inform those close to him, that “heloved them”.The primary cause of the accident was mostprobably flight control failure as a result ofhydraulic failure induced fire (see first reportby the CAA’s Accident/Incident InvestigationDivision on Page 71). Reviewing images takenby spectators, it appeared that a fire hadstarted in the jetpipe, most probably causedby the ignition of the hydraulic fluid that hadpooled up in the aft section of the fuselage andin all likelihood, burnt through the elevatorcontrol which was subsequently manifested bythe loss of pitch control.It would appear that this was a very similarcase to that of the SAAF’s Silver Falcon lossduring an air show at Stellenbosch in April1988 when the pilot ejected from theAermacchi MB-3326M due to a tailpipe firewhich burnt so intensely, fuelled by leakeddiesel “smoke oil”, that the elevator controlrods burnt through, making ejection the onlypossible option.In this case poor maintenance of a recentrepair scheme on the “smoke system” was thedirect contributory cause.CONCLUSIONAs an international air show community, weseem to have reached a plateau in our abilityto reduce accidents and incidents at air shows.The question is: Can we afford then to justcontinue and accept an average of 19 accidents/incidentsper annum?Further, can we afford to just accept whatthe dice have dealt, with the associated loss oflife?Are we doing enough worldwide to reducethe number of air show accidents/incidents? QWORLD AIRNEWS, FEBRUARY 2010. 57MCC SimulatorState-of-the-ArtHelicopter Simulator300 + Full Time Students accommodated on CampusOur full-time pool of 70+ civilian, airline andmilitary flying instructors includes 2 GradeI/DE’s, 37 Grade II and 7 Rotor Wing Instructorswith 200 000+hrs (TT) and 95 000 hrs flightinstruction. 7 full-time Ground Instructors.The Aviation Industry’s Pilot TrainingInstitution of ChoicePILOT TRAININGFixed Wing and Helicopter PPL, CPL,ATPL, Full Ground School andScheduled Instructor Training Courses.Private Bag X43,Port Alfred, 6170, South AfricaTel: + 27 (0) 46 604 3600Fax: + 27 (0) 46 624 2432E-mail: training@43airschool.comwww.43airschool.comThe force you can trustPart of National Airways Corporation (NAC)An Imperial Company

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