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Author Topic: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air  (Read 123200 times)

richie conroy

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #90 on: November 21, 2011, 12:36:45 PM »

on Tighar's travels round gardner or seven site did u check tree's for markings or if sumthink has been carved like

Amelia woz ere 1937  :)

We are an echo of the past


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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #91 on: November 21, 2011, 01:09:29 PM »

on Tighar's travels round gardner or seven site did u check tree's for markings or if sumthink has been carved like
Amelia woz ere 1937  :)

Yes, we've looked.
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #92 on: November 22, 2011, 12:14:43 PM »


Dan Swift's post re: ditching
Let's say that they made a water landing (Ditched) near enough to an atoll with a coral reef that their momentum caried them to and on the reef.  Post loss radio transmissions sent out, plane subsequently washed off the reef.  Just a guess, not masquerading as a fact. 
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Friend Weller

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #93 on: November 22, 2011, 01:26:59 PM »


Let's say that they made a water landing (Ditched) near enough to an atoll with a coral reef that their momentum caried them to and on the reef.  Post loss radio transmissions sent out, plane subsequently washed off the reef.  Just a guess, not masquerading as a fact.

If they were washed up onto the reef would they be able to raise the landing gear so that they could run the engine?

Ditching bends props (and lots of other items) which could render the engine(s) useless....let alone the airframe damage that might occur during the ditching/beaching make this a highly improbable scenario.

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« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 01:30:03 PM by Friend Weller »
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #94 on: November 23, 2011, 12:16:46 PM »


Plane on reef flat, gear up, pilot touches extend gear switch, sturdy gear extension worm gear system lowers gear, wheels turn as plane moves up onto gear and gear locks in place.  Radio batteries are fully charged,  Distress calls sent out.  (ducking the Nits, LOL)
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #95 on: November 23, 2011, 03:32:11 PM »


Geez Jeff
You must be a physchic or something to know all the things that happened.
I wonder what Sully Sullenberger would have done had he had you whispering in his ear about all things that might have gone wrong when attempting a landing on the Hudson River.

I don't know the empty weight of the Electra, or whether the gear extinsion system could raise the plane as it operated to lower the gear, but most of the fuel (6600 lbs) had been burned.
The props would have been feathered, the engines wouldn't have been turning, the temperature was in the 100's so things would dry out fairly fast.
A low, slow gentle glide slope with the engines off and props feathered tail low and nose high so that contact with the water was as gentle as possible would be the way to go.

Do I believe that this is what happened? No, but it is a possibility.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #96 on: November 23, 2011, 04:41:48 PM »

Do I believe that this is what happened? No, but it is a possibility.

I don't think it's even a possibility. I don't think there has ever been a gear retraction/extension system on any airplane that was capable standing the airplane up if it was on its belly.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #97 on: November 23, 2011, 04:55:42 PM »

Do I believe that this is what happened? No, but it is a possibility.

I don't think it's even a possibility. I don't think there has ever been a gear retraction/extension system on any airplane that was capable standing the airplane up if it was on its belly.
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Well we agree on something. The gear EXTENSION system is just strong enough to extend the gear against the slipstream and to raise only the weight of the gear after takeoff. It is not designed to jack up the plane after a belly landing. That is why the runway is blocked for so long after a gear up-landing. The mechanics have to put jacks under the wings and then jack the plane up  high enough to EXTEND the gear so that the plane can be towed away.

gl
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #98 on: November 23, 2011, 09:59:44 PM »


Reminds me of what is said about pilots that fly retractables
There are two kinds of them
               1. Those that have landed with gear up.  and
               2. Those that are gonna land with the gear up.

I guess they would have had to put the gear down while in the water floating towards the  reef.
I doubt if the water would have any effect on the worm gear's mechanical advantage.
Next?
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Dan Swift

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #99 on: November 24, 2011, 12:35:09 PM »

Here I go again, 'knowing something in my heart....if not in my head' as Ric might say.   No way to really know this unless I was in her head at that exact time.  But this is what I would think so close to finishing the great task:

Amelia wanted to set that plane down in one 'flyable' piece.  Get rescued, refueled,  and continue that trip.  A second failure was looking probable until the reef flat was spotted.  A 'safe' (no damage) landing would give her an outside chance of continuing.  Then came in the tide and changed all that 'thinking'. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #100 on: November 24, 2011, 03:28:03 PM »

Here I go again, 'knowing something in my heart....if not in my head' as Ric might say.   No way to really know this unless I was in her head at that exact time.  But this is what I would think so close to finishing the great task:

Amelia wanted to set that plane down in one 'flyable' piece.  Get rescued, refueled,  and continue that trip.  A second failure was looking probable until the reef flat was spotted.  A 'safe' (no damage) landing would give her an outside chance of continuing.  Then came in the tide and changed all that 'thinking'.

I think that makes sense.  She had gotten lost, landed, got help, and continued her trip before.  The airplane was not insured and she still owed a fortune for the repairs following the wreck in Hawaii. 
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #101 on: November 24, 2011, 04:44:26 PM »

I also agree, although I find it hard to imagine a pilot would think about anything beyond taking advantage of what looks like a safe landing spot on bingo fuel.  That seems like enough motivation, to me.

"Hey Fred, we're almost out of gas.  Should we land on that big flat spot, or keep looking for someplace better?"

They might not have thought they were in a survival situation as they were landing.  That might not have occured until a day or two later, when they were getting dehydrated and help hadn't arrived yet, and then they couldn't use the plane to transmit from for whatever reason.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #102 on: November 25, 2011, 08:30:23 AM »

The props on the NR16020 could not be feathered.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #103 on: November 26, 2011, 12:39:11 PM »

The props on the NR16020 could not be feathered.

Thanks Ric - that cinches that detail. 

What a handicap if she'd lost an engine mid-ocean - lots of drag.

I had trouble thinking of a scenario short of engine failure where she would have bothered anyway - in other words, the odds would have been nil in my thinking. 

Feathering a prop is all about reducing drag in-flight; it does nothing to improve your shot at avoiding groung damage, unless you are really going to go retentive on getting the blades horizontal before touch-down (that's mostly Hollywood thinking in real life).  Industry experience suggests that one is generally far better off by concentrating on just flying the airplane all the way through the best landing possible in those situations - even using normal power-to-idle as appropriate throughout the exercise - "just fly".

LTM -
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Of course you pull the props back to low r.p.m., high pitch, lowest possible drag position, just like you would do in a single. It appears that dealing with the loss of one engine is why the standard Electra 10 came with fuel dump valves installed in the standard wing fuel tanks which increased the single engine ceiling, so the plane could maintain level flight with one engine shut down.

Putting the props horizontal prior to an emergency landing may be just "Hollywood" to you but I saw a guy do exactly that at the Hinsdale airport near Chicago in 1973. He was flying a Twin Beech and couldn't get the gear down. He flew over the airport, shut down both engines, feathered the props, cranked them till the blades were horizontal and put it down on a taxiway, sliding on the nacelles with very little damage to the plane.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Odds of Spotting Survivors from the Air
« Reply #104 on: November 26, 2011, 05:28:56 PM »

The props on the NR16020 could not be feathered.

Thanks Ric - that cinches that detail. 

What a handicap if she'd lost an engine mid-ocean - lots of drag.

I had trouble thinking of a scenario short of engine failure where she would have bothered anyway - in other words, the odds would have been nil in my thinking. 

Feathering a prop is all about reducing drag in-flight; it does nothing to improve your shot at avoiding groung damage, unless you are really going to go retentive on getting the blades horizontal before touch-down (that's mostly Hollywood thinking in real life).  Industry experience suggests that one is generally far better off by concentrating on just flying the airplane all the way through the best landing possible in those situations - even using normal power-to-idle as appropriate throughout the exercise - "just fly".

LTM -
--------------------------------------
Of course you pull the props back to low r.p.m., high pitch, lowest possible drag position, just like you would do in a single. It appears that dealing with the loss of one engine is why the standard Electra 10 came with fuel dump valves installed in the standard wing fuel tanks which increased the single engine ceiling, so the plane could maintain level flight with one engine shut down.

Putting the props horizontal prior to an emergency landing may be just "Hollywood" to you but I saw a guy do exactly that at the Hinsdale airport near Chicago in 1973. He was flying a Twin Beech and couldn't get the gear down. He flew over the airport, shut down both engines, feathered the props, cranked them till the blades were horizontal and put it down on a taxiway, sliding on the nacelles with very little damage to the plane.

gl

Interesting about the dump valves, makes sense.

Glad it worked out.  My guess is he was fairly high-time and confident of his machine and the conditions at-hand - good for him.  I too am aware of cases where it worked (to bump the props clear) - but it's bad advice, generally.  Maybe the airport is safer with us boring types around -

There are others who would have been better served to have just chilled and made the best landing they could have - like one local fellow who flew his Arrow for about 3 hours to burn off fuel, diverted to a grass strip to 'save' his bird and tried to stop the engine - which kept windmilling (no feather on a typical single).  It piled it in fairly hard with substantial damage as he was struggling to get the prop stopped. 

I know of several others over the years who simply 'made the best normal (sic) landing they could' and came away with minimal damage in that same and similar types.  I witnessed (among others) a T-34 land with wheels up - minimal damage because the pilot was unaware; he joked later that he couldn't hear our calls warning him because of 'that loud horn'...  I'd rather just try to remember to cut everything off immediately and vacate what would hopefully be a mostly intact airplane.

It comes down to conditions, skill, attention and ODDS.  Making as "normal" a landing as possible (meaning with normal power to the end of it) stacks the deck better for the average pilot IMHO.  Props can be replaced and tear-down inspections are a fact of life these days.  It used to be that props were often straightened (fixed pitch) or blades replaced and a 'run-out' was done on the crank flange and the oil screen would be checked - and back into service it would go.  No more - too much liability came to be realized - flanges that broke 100 hours later, etc.  Too easy to catch this sort of thing in a timely tear-down inspection.  Thankfully these events are rare enough and the usual lasting effects are a slightly bruised ego and perhaps somewhat modified premiums for a while.  No pilot in his right mind will criticize another for it - as someone said, "3 types...".

So yes - "aviate, navigate and communicate" in the most basic form is the better call IMHO, therefore for me the idea remains "Hollywood" - right in there with squat-switch-commanded gear retractions on rotation, hard turn-outs close to the ground, etc.

And back to the topic of this string - "the odds of spotting survivors from the air" may have been enhanced (if unsuccessfully) by AE making the best normal landing that she could have in NR16020... ; )

LTM -
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I did an experiment once. In a C-150, at a good altitude above an empty uncontrolled field, I pulled the mixture and then slowed the plane down until the prop stopped. When that happened I could feel the reduction in drag, the plane felt like it was real slippery, kinda like flying a sailplane. No problem getting it down safely, dead stick, on the runway. It was a pretty convincing demonstration of the amount of drag created by a windmilling prop. (Note, I don't recommend trying this for everyone.)

gl
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