Top Letters And Comments, December 3, 2021

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Improper Towing Led To PA46 Nosegear Failure

Similar problems can occur in Beech Bonanza and Barons. The scissors that hold the nosewheel straight are of dissimilar metals, so that improper towing will break one of the arms rather than the main structure. Damage here is usually a crack where the scissors join, often obscured by grease from the fitting mounted there. My nosegear failed at that point on takeoff in my B55 Baron, the nosewheel turning sideways. That led to the nosegear collapse and a fairly high-speed exit off the side of the runway with both engines at full power. A large snowbank (from runway plowing) brought us to a halt after ripping out the left main gear completely. 8 months later and about 60K got us back in the air, and thereafter, VERY meticulous inspections of the nosegear on preflight. Post-accident inspection showed that the crack had developed internally from the grease fitting and would not have been noticeable until just before complete failure.

Philip E.

Turbine Step-Up: Insurance Driven

Good article, Rick. It brings up two good points that everyone in aviation should thoroughly understand. The first is get to know the type of aircraft you are interested in buying and find a knowledgeable independent party to inspect your prize before you write the checks. That goes for all airplanes, but doubly so for turbines and jets. I have a friend who is in the process of discovering just how expensive a bargain airplane can be. Know before you buy.

The second subject is a good explanation of how the aviation insurance business works. We all became spoiled with how relatively cheap and available plane insurance was in the soft market over the past decade. In many ways, insurance has become a bigger issue for pilots than complying with FAA regs on upgrade training and proficiency. And, that has manifested itself in both higher premiums and more restrictive conditions for coverage. The market is cyclical, and rates will eventually come back down to less painful levels. But, the requirements for better training and proficiency are likely to hang around for a much longer time. Smart underwriters may not be able to control competitive pressure on premiums but they can certainly be more choosy as to who they are willing to insure.

John Mc.

Best Of The Web: Real World Engine Failure And Turnback

Well done. Excellent quality video and great discussion of lesson learned.

This is a good example of how after engine failure you might make it back to the general airport area, but it’s unlikely you’ll make it to the pavement from which you departed. Luckily in this case there is a second runway in that airport area that was barely within the airplane’s glide range as flown. As Paul wrote, the pilot departed on RWY 30 (reciprocal 12) and (barely) landed on RWY 8, which is 40 degrees off of the reciprocal runway heading.

Thanks to the pilot, and to AVWeb for letting us learn from this example. Again, well done.

Thomas Turner

First, Great Job!! Like I tell all my students, “being prepared is half the battle,” then you have to execute! Of course, I would not lump this particular engine failure with all the turn back studies. This appears to be a highly experienced pilot who was more than well prepared for this event. You can tell by all the cameras that are set up. It’s like when a test pilot for an aircraft manufacturer goes up to test an airplane. I am not trying to take anything away from this fine pilot. I’m just saying it’s apples and tomatoes comparison (not the same). I agree with Paul on disagreeing how fast he put the gear down, there was a good size cement canal just before the runway, which would have been catastrophic to hit had he not been right on the money. I always teach don’t worry about the gear, “make your landing area first!” The insurance will pay for the gear up damage, but you’ll survive. Ultimately, you can’t argue with this success!

JJ Moreno

Poll: Do You Think The U.S. Should Launch Another Moon Mission In 2025?

  • If nothing else, to drive interest in aeronautics and space. Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle, Space station did that–and aeronautics and space interest zoomed. Compare to today–can anybody recite offhand what is happening on the space station, or what is planned? Mankind needs a GOAL–which sparks COMPETITION–which leads to INNOVATION. Is it worth it? Look at all of the things we take for granted today–few of which would have happened had it not been for the space program. Let’s set a difficult but attainable goal!
  • Sure, but only if the project is intended to establish a long-term base on the moon. The function of the base would be to learn how to sustain life on another world for long periods of time. This is how humanity could prepare for long duration stays on Mars and perhaps beyond. Simply repeating the achievements realized during project Apollo over a half century ago does not in itself justify the cost or the risk. But learning how to set up a long-term base that can sustain human life for an indefinite term might be.
  • Been there, done that, and even got the tee shirt. Why?
  • Yes, but it should outsource the vehicle to private industry and stop wasting money on cost-plus jobs programs like SLS.
  • Why? There are challenges on Earth that are outstanding. Use the knowledge and financial backing to fix Earth first.
  • Yes. Moon AND Space Station.
  • There’s no way in hell a manned lunar program can be ready by 2025. Such claims are simply impossible political PR.
  • Yes, but the timing is a detail dependent upon successful test.
  • Yes, but the space station is not done. It’s still an orbiting asset that should be useful for any moon mission.
  • Why go to the moon again? We know living there is not practical. Same with Mars.
  • Spend the money on education.
  • Yes, absolutely, but not one funded by the taxpayer.
  • WHY has not been answered; so there is no reason to spend that money.
  • U.S. Space Force base? Perhaps.
  • What would be gained to justify the cost?
  • Yes. But the Space Station isn’t done (and needs to be replaced when it is).
  • Send unmanned craft, do science.
  • We were there in 1969.
  • Why? We only went there last time for political reasons.
  • Yes. Private not government.
  • Absolutely, but the space station is not done!
  • What is to be gained by going there or to Mars?
  • I think Space-X should already be there waiting to greet them.
  • Yes. About damn time too.
  • Only if it can be commercialized.
  • Where’s the money?
  • Yes. Simply yes.

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