Radial Rocket down at Bara

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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by Mike Wissing » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:50 am

Not all initial test flights are even close to perfect, and this one was not an easy one by what I have read.
The pilot had minimal control on his first landing on what appears to be a narrow runway. Why was the airplane not flown to a better runway which would have given more room for error after work was done on her?
Test flying is all about risk management and giving yourself a chance if things go pear-shaped. The qualifications of the pilot are not in question, but what I do question is the choice of runway. If you read anything about this airplane type, you will quickly realize it is a handful on a good day :wink:
3 hours on an unfamiliar, twitchy and untested airplane with teething issues is not enough PIC experience to take passengers or a "student", so I think there may be a little more to this story. (I'm assuming (which is terribly dangerous) from what I read the TP had no experience on type, but on "similar" airplanes)

I'm glad everyone is OK and the airplane is repairable. She sure is a beautiful machine.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by Multirotordronepilot » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:23 am

Burner wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:39 pm
Wildcat_004 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:15 pm
Looking at the video: very poor approach as speed looks lower than required. Landing not very controlled. Almost left the runway due to lack of proper control. Tried to stop too quickly with lots of runway to spare. This “ test pilot” was not doing this approach in a stable manner. Almost lost it at short finals.
Absolutely... terrible pilot induced oscillation on touch down, and short final.
Accurate

I'm not saying this because we are in agreement with approach speeds, ground handling or anything else. In fact to put opinions like this down on a public forum is not the easiest. But hope that its not taken personally and call it as it is which some have done.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by Tony van Vliet » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:36 am

The FAA document AC 90-89A makes good reading for prospective test flying.

As an example their recommendations for runway selection is as follows:

The ideal runway at sea-level elevation should be at least 4,000 feet long and 100 feet wide. For each 1,000 feet increase in field elevation, add 500 feet to the runway length. If testing a high performance aircraft, the airport’s runway at sea- level should be more than 6,000 feet long and 150 feet wide to allow a wider margin of safety. Other considerations, such as power to weight ratio, wing design, and density altitude, also should be factored into the equation for picking the best runway for the initial flight testing.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by jimdavis » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:04 am

Tony van Vliet wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:36 am
The FAA document AC 90-89A makes good reading for prospective test flying.

As an example their recommendations for runway selection is as follows:

The ideal runway at sea-level elevation should be at least 4,000 feet long and 100 feet wide. For each 1,000 feet increase in field elevation, add 500 feet to the runway length. If testing a high performance aircraft, the airport’s runway at sea- level should be more than 6,000 feet long and 150 feet wide to allow a wider margin of safety. Other considerations, such as power to weight ratio, wing design, and density altitude, also should be factored into the equation for picking the best runway for the initial flight testing.
That's very interesting Tony. So he should have been looking at a 2.75km long runway that is 150' wide. That makes a lot of sense.

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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by Orthin Opter » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:49 am

Burner wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:39 pm
Wildcat_004 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:15 pm
Looking at the video: very poor approach as speed looks lower than required. Landing not very controlled. Almost left the runway due to lack of proper control. Tried to stop too quickly with lots of runway to spare. This “ test pilot” was not doing this approach in a stable manner. Almost lost it at short finals.
Absolutely... terrible pilot induced oscillation on touch down, and short final.
A bit harsh, methinks... [-X
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by AEH » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:16 am

The initial flight test pilot was not the same pilot for the later flights. The second pilot wished to avoid HIS Krugersdorp and use the open flat surroundings of Baragwanath an airfield with which he has been flying from for the past 15 years or more. Both pilots are highly experienced and capable. Apparently on the 5 touch and go it suddenly departed and despite all efforts the pilot could not recover. It just happened to hit a ditch in the Veld which was under consideration to be filled. Had the ditch not been there the only damage would have been grass in the spare.

Had this happened anywhere else it could have impacted a hangar, another aircraft or gone down the side of a mountain. The choice of airport was good but with hindsight every other choice made by people not charged with the responsibility of the flight will no doubt justify thier proposition.

Whether it was pilot induced loss of control or another cause remains to be established. The pilot is significantly above average and well capable ; and familiar with the airfield.

I was nearly caught out whilst flying in exactly the same spot with the late Happy Skipper. No wind but full rudder and a touch of brake and power we got luckier than the Rocket. Later on we found minor gusts. It does not take much to upset a very delicate balance for it to all go very wrong in a heartbeat.

I am glad that the damage appears minimal. Strongs to the owner and pilot.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by Mrb13676 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:17 am

Guys, I really think we are confusing two separate days here.

The video posted earlier was (I think) of the first landing on type - which, while it looked hectic, resulted in no bent metal and a completely serviceable airplane afterward - this is why test pilots are used - I’m sure that very few of us would have walked away from that approach and landing so kudos to the pilot on the day.

The oopsie happened on Tuesday this week - I saw one of the touch and goes filmed from the runway side prior to the incident and it was very well controlled with none of the bouncing on the earlier video.

The candid report by the operating pilot on Tuesday explains exactly what happened - it seems like something that could happen to any pilot on any day notwithstanding the 440hp available on tap!
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by E816 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:11 am

Burner wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:39 pm
Wildcat_004 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:15 pm
Looking at the video: very poor approach as speed looks lower than required. Landing not very controlled. Almost left the runway due to lack of proper control. Tried to stop too quickly with lots of runway to spare. This “ test pilot” was not doing this approach in a stable manner. Almost lost it at short finals.
Absolutely... terrible pilot induced oscillation on touch down, and short final.
I think this is harsh .... remember test pilot had no experience on type, in fact there are only something like 5 of these world wide. It was an innitial test fight and from earlier posts there were some problems found during the actual flight. If you've flown into RWY26 at FAKR you'll know that it's not an easy approach even on a good day, with up and down drafts and very often wind sheer. This combined with the power delivery and rpm trouble would've made it a handfull.
Also, keep in mind when the tail is down that the pilot cannot see the runway looking out the front.
I don't know the test pilot, but from his credentials he certainly has the experience, and as an airline training captain I'm sure he undeerstands the importance of a stabilised approach.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by jimdavis » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:25 am

Mrb13676 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:17 am
The candid report by the operating pilot on Tuesday explains exactly what happened - it seems like something that could happen to any pilot on any day notwithstanding the 440hp available on tap!
We keep hearing about the "candid report" but no one has so far told us exactly what was in that report.

Also I really don't like the concept that it seems like something that could happen to any pilot. Excluding a mechanical failure, a bird strike, wake turbulence, or an invisible whirlwind. Things simply don't HAPPEN TO PILOTS.

That expression, which I hear quite often, sounds like there is some mystery force out there that just attacks even the best of pilots. It takes away the notion of pilot responsibility.

With light aircraft accidents you can usually say the fault lies either with the pilot or the machine - so if there was no mechanical problem then the pilot must bear the responsibility for losing control.

jim
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by Mrb13676 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:41 am

jimdavis wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:25 am
Mrb13676 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:17 am
The candid report by the operating pilot on Tuesday explains exactly what happened - it seems like something that could happen to any pilot on any day notwithstanding the 440hp available on tap!
We keep hearing about the "candid report" but no one has so far told us exactly what was in that report.

Also I really don't like the concept that it seems like something that could happen to any pilot. Excluding a mechanical failure, a bird strike, wake turbulence, or an invisible whirlwind. Things simply don't HAPPEN TO PILOTS.

That expression, which I hear quite often, sounds like there is some mystery force out there that just attacks even the best of pilots. It takes away the notion of pilot responsibility.

With light aircraft accidents you can usually say the fault lies either with the pilot or the machine - so if there was no mechanical problem then the pilot must bear the responsibility for losing control.

jim
Points well taken - the actual text of the report can be shared by the sender should he desire - suffice it to say that the pilot took full responsibility for the incident.
The phrase “it could happen to anyone” is probably the wrong phrase - anyone can make a mistake at any time. There are no mysterious forces (other than the continual unexplained disappearance of funds from my bank account around tax time). But we are all human.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by mikestark » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:49 am

E816 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:11 am
Burner wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:39 pm
Wildcat_004 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:15 pm
Looking at the video: very poor approach as speed looks lower than required. Landing not very controlled. Almost left the runway due to lack of proper control. Tried to stop too quickly with lots of runway to spare. This “ test pilot” was not doing this approach in a stable manner. Almost lost it at short finals.
Absolutely... terrible pilot induced oscillation on touch down, and short final.
I think this is harsh .... remember test pilot had no experience on type, in fact there are only something like 5 of these world wide. It was an innitial test fight and from earlier posts there were some problems found during the actual flight. If you've flown into RWY26 at FAKR you'll know that it's not an easy approach even on a good day, with up and down drafts and very often wind sheer. This combined with the power delivery and rpm trouble would've made it a handfull.
Also, keep in mind when the tail is down that the pilot cannot see the runway looking out the front.
I don't know the test pilot, but from his credentials he certainly has the experience, and as an airline training captain I'm sure he undeerstands the importance of a stabilised approach.
Don't know anyone connected to this incident, but E816, from your reply the following emerges :
1. test pilot had no experience on type
2. it's not an easy approach even on a good day,with up and down drafts and very often wind sheer

Now if I was the test pilot (I'm a 500 hr PPL so definitely no test pilot aspirations), I would like to stack the deck IN MY FAVOUR and mitigate anything (risk) that was under my control. The choice of runway was under control - it would have been decided prior to take off. Issues with the engine, airframe etc were not controllable and had to be dealt with.

I would have thought that in trying to minimize risk, using a long wide runway when test flying a hot ship (400 HP taildragger with high wing loading) and no experience on type, would have been minimum requirements for the test flight to take place.

Of course, my comments are limited to the video of the initial test flight.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by jimdavis » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:07 am

Mrb13676 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:41 am
jimdavis wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:25 am
Mrb13676 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:17 am
The candid report by the operating pilot on Tuesday explains exactly what happened - it seems like something that could happen to any pilot on any day notwithstanding the 440hp available on tap!
We keep hearing about the "candid report" but no one has so far told us exactly what was in that report.

Also I really don't like the concept that it seems like something that could happen to any pilot. Excluding a mechanical failure, a bird strike, wake turbulence, or an invisible whirlwind. Things simply don't HAPPEN TO PILOTS.

That expression, which I hear quite often, sounds like there is some mystery force out there that just attacks even the best of pilots. It takes away the notion of pilot responsibility.

With light aircraft accidents you can usually say the fault lies either with the pilot or the machine - so if there was no mechanical problem then the pilot must bear the responsibility for losing control.

jim
Points well taken - the actual text of the report can be shared by the sender should he desire - suffice it to say that the pilot took full responsibility for the incident.
The phrase “it could happen to anyone” is probably the wrong phrase - anyone can make a mistake at any time. There are no mysterious forces (other than the continual unexplained disappearance of funds from my bank account around tax time). But we are all human.
Okay Mike we are on the same page. :D

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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by ddevos » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:18 am

The problem I have with what has been mentioned about the engine control issues is that engine ground runs before the first flight really should have identified these issues so that they could be rectified BEFORE the maiden flight. To me it's like taking a newly buit kit car for a test drive after completing construction and not testing the steering, brakes, accellerator, clutch (if any), etc. before driving off.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by homebuilt » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:54 pm

Some issues may not show up on any number of ground runs and you cannot test flying surfaces on the ground and that is precisely why it is called a test flight and carried out by an experienced test pilot. Hours on type? Well if there are only three or four in the country, it will be new ground for any test pilot. My personal take on this therefore is stack the odds in your favour regarding runway, airfield, altitude, etc, all of which has been mentioned in this topic. Glad all are ok after this. Much will have been learned about this accident by those closest to the accident eg. owner, pilot, etc.
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Re: Radial Rocket down at Bara

Unread post by savas » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:19 pm

when I watched the Maiden Flight video, I could not help thinking to myself that choosing to land back at FAKR, was not such a sensible thing to do, especially considering they had some flight engine/prop issue to deal with. either Plan A, was to land elsewhere or at least a Plan B in the event that it was needed.
proper planning should have taken, the landing elsewhere, at least until 10/15 hrs have been done, as FAKR is not the greatest runway on any day, never mind a hot-ship like this, as after all this was not your typical RV8 maiden.

can you imagine, that this incident, that has now occurred after 3 hrs, was back at FAKR.
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