Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
This has nothing to do with Zenith, just a reminder of how bad things can happen. I was called to our
airport this morning after a local pilot crashed his Bellanca Viking on the runway when the landing
gear wouldn't come down and he broke the manual pump lever off trying to get it down. He did an
amazing job of skidding it down the asphalt with very minimal damage other than prop strike and
now engine tear down. After several hours via phone with the FAA he was given permission to move
the plane and a few more hours later we relocated it back to his hanger. My point for putting this on here
is that we had to Notam off the runway all day and it brings home the fact that we should never depend
on one airport for a fuel stop........
Thanks for the reminder about not relying in a single airport for a fuel stop. It's not something I've thought of in a while but it's an important one.
Good point to always have an Alternate, even when the weather calls for Severe Clear.
I hadn't thought about it that way. Thank you for sharing.
Interesting ... depending on the extent of aircraft damage, this might have been an "incident" and would not have to be reported to the FAA with all the subsequent delays! Apparently, the NTSB/FAA are only interested in accidents with "substantial damage" defined as “damage or failure which adversely affects the structural strength, performance, or flight characteristics of the aircraft, and which would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component. Engine failure or damage limited to an engine if only one engine fails or is damaged, bent fairings or cowling, dented skin, small punctured holes in the skin or fabric, ground damage to rotor or propeller blades, and damage to landing gear, wheels, tires, flaps, engine accessories, brakes, or wingtips are not considered "substantial damage."
However, once someone contacts the FAA ... Pandora's box is opened! ;>)
Thanks for the info John,
I am on our airport board (69k) but didn't get there until several different law agencies were
on site and the FAA had already been called. The owner was on the phone a couple of times
with them and (this was Sunday) they finally told him that they considered it an incident, but still
wanted to see it this week. Up until that last call, we were not supposed to touch it.
After a few ideas I hauled my telehanldler out there, removed the cowl, from the hook on the engine. raised the front of it up, put a small 4 caster furniture mover under the rear tie down and with wing walkers
and a guy sort of steering the tail we took it down the runway and into his hanger and up on jacks. For
a bunch of old country boys, it worked pretty slick.
Maybe you can tell me -- I always thought a prop strike meant an automatic engine tear down for a
crank check. The aluminum three bladed prop was still turning when he touched down, bending all the
tips, and the owner is telling me since it's Continental he may not have to tear it down. I didn't say
Flew a friend to Oshkosh today to mark his spot for his Luscombe and they thought it was hot there.
I live in Kansas and I thought it was cool!
That's what usually happens - even though there are no injuries, etc., well-meaning people call all sorts of law enforcement and federal agencies, who usually in-turn call the FAA since they don't have a clue what to do, and once the FAA is notified, everything's in limbo until they get around to making a determination and closing their file. If cooler heads prevail and realize it's just an "incident," it saves a lot of down-time and is then just a matter of getting the darned thing off the runway and calling their insurance company!
Unfortunately, when the FAA "still wants to see it," that opens up the pilot and plane to the FAA stumbling onto inadvertent regulation violations and even more grief. Beware when someone show's up and says the nine most terrifying words in the English language: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help!" Haha!
The aluminum three bladed prop was still turning when he touched down, bending all the
tips, and the owner is telling me since it's Continental he may not have to tear it down.
I am not an A&P, but I think the owner is engaged in, ahem ..., extremely wishful thinking! ;>)
Wonder why he wouldn't want it torn down? The practical fact is that his insurance will pay for it and if it were me, I'd be forever paranoid flying that engine if it hadn't been torn down!
When I had my incident, nose gear, prop tips and a wing tip, I got out and with the help of a few witnesses we held down the tail and pulled it onto a taxiway and out of the way. Unfortunately for me there was a public road running just past the end of the runway. A reporter from the local paper driving by witnessed the event and called 911. I got two sheriffs vehicle, one EMT, one firetruck, and a Georgia Forest Service Vehicle. The sheriff was mad that I moved the plane but couldn't do anything about it. After the plane was moved to a vacant hanger, I got online and filed an Aviation Safety Report with NASA. No one called the FAA and I never talked to them.
And yes I would tear down the engine for inspection.
Thanks for the replies -- I assume the majority of pilots would want to have the engine totally inspected even
if it wasn't required. I have owned and operated lots of equipment in my life and have seen a number of
shafts crystallize and break for of a number of different reasons. There are enough things to think about
when flying to be wondering if your prop is going to fly away from your plane!
And yes, our little airport is remote and surrounded by corn fields but even the Kansas Highway Patrol
was there. In today's world, with social media, most things become well known - quick.
In today's world, with social media, most things become well known - quick.
... and of course, media just salivates over being first to report an airplane "crash landing." So, any little "incident" gets hyped up into a "crash" immediately! I'm getting off into the weeds here, but one of the major aviation publications referred to the recent Southwest Airlines/Tammy Jo Shultz emergency landing as an "accident!" I told them I didn't see it that way - it was just darned good piloting! It also appears your local pilot who landed the Bellanca Viking gear-up did an equally good job! :>)
One of the members of the flying club I belonged to taxied the 182 into some tall grass on a back-country strip - insurance company insisted on an engine tear down. They were the one that paid for the repair, so "since they have seen a thing or two, they know a thing of two".
Concerning the tear down after a strike, 2 examples that will make you a believer:
C182 prop striking a light steel tow bar at about 1600 RPM. only damaged about 3/4" of tips. Tear down revealed cracked magneto gears and cam gear damage. An O-320 in an RV clipped a tin runway edge light and took it off the stalk at a fast taxi. Tear down revealed a spiral crack ~1" long in the front main bearing area. Both engines shows zero run out when "dialed". Don't bet your life on a prop strike.
When the bungee failed on my 801 causing a rudder and FLG steering lock up and a nose gear collapse, the local FSDO gave me an interview, checked my paperwork, and gave me a clean bill of health. They even complimented me on my decision to not try to go around with a compromised aircraft and for "flying into the crash" and not letting a wing tip catch or the nose drop at higher speed. Great guys. NTSB was positive on the report about the bungee failure analysis. Sent me a nice note.
Several months later out of the blue I get contacted by FAA enforcement to discuss my "sanctions". The FAA person admitted over the phone that they had not read the report, and (I quote) "It doesn't matter". I had to surrender my license, they gave me a temporary student license and I had to take 4 hours of remedial training, and retake the TO & Landing part of my commercial check ride. After nailing the 100' box at +/- 5 knots, crossing the numbers at 50 feet +10/-0 feet in a strange aircraft in 28 knot gusty winds, they tried twice to bust me for flying an unairworthy aircraft. First because there had been a squawk on the log sheet for inoperative stall warning and there was no A&P release for repairing it (sucking the bug out with a hanky over the hole). The second time (I had to cancel the first ride when winds went over 30 knots) another attempted bust because the vacuum gage went lightly above the green arc during just the TO& C phase (it was only 10"F out and oily relief valve filter socks get stiff in the cold). It took hours arguing with an airworthiness specialist to not get busted for being unairworthy. It cost me time off form work, ~$1000, and my dignity.
So much for the "kinder and friendlier FAA" myth.