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  • WEST OZ FLYER
    started a topic Emergency landing options

    Emergency landing options

    Here is the senario. I fly from a place which after take off has nothing but big trees or lots of water. As I am flying along I am thinking about options should the engine flame out. To leave to the airstrip I follow the river as I think that landing in the water is better than landing in the trees. My solution (to everything it seems) is to vertical into the water, allow the blades to stop when they hit the water and then bail out. As I fly a side by side Rossco there will be not a cabin to hinder my escape. it has been suggested to me to roll the gyro to the right to stop the blades but I wonder how much you will get thrashed around as the blades hit the water. When do you undo your seat belt? And the tree thing. Vertical into the top of the largest tree available or a gap if the gyro will fit?

    Has anyone been there, done that and would like to share senarios? Anyone have any ideas on what they would do in the situation.

  • RossM
    replied
    Originally posted by jeff b View Post
    I was pretty happy to see the top of Tassie come into view! :-)
    Aren't we all

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  • jeff b
    replied
    I'm going to get around to writing up the story of crossing Bass Strait in the Magni M24 for Gyro News. Yes, it's a long way over the water and I was pretty happy to see the top of Tassie come into view! :-)

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  • Waddles
    replied
    G'day All,
    Been thinking about this scenario for quite some time now and try as I may, I can't find any references that definitively cover the subject adequately. Maybe because no-one has had to ditch a gyro for real. Whilst I can reiterate my recollections of my unplanned close inspection of the Tamar river, it must be recalled that this was an uncontrolled crash. No input with the flight or engine controls had any bearing on the final flight path. So ..........

    Upon realisation that no pilot input had any effect on the flight path, it remained to become aware of the rapidly approaching river surface and the inevitable contact that would soon be upon me. I managed to get a quick "mayday" out, but did not include position as I'd left the call too late. I know the gyro was nose down but was unaware that it was turning slowly to the left. I don't know what hit the water first, but due to the attitude of the gyro, I suspect it was the rotor blades at about the 10 o'clock position. I don't remember being thrown to the right hand side, but do recall my head hitting the water on my right side. Then, darkness. I had my harness done up, helmet and radio leads still attached at the time of impact. At no time did I consider detaching any of these. I became aware of cold water seeping into the helmet around my cheeks. I guess that's when I regained consciousness. I reached down and lifted the harness face plate which, due to the design of the harness, allowed all 4 belts to come free. Can't remember looking around for the surface, but likely went with the natural buoyancy of the body towards the surface, likely helped by lusty kicks as well. The radio leads detached themselves and I was not aware of any resistance offered by those plugs. How deep at this stage? Dunno. Maybe 3 M. On the surface, I orientated myself and struck out for the shore. I had plenty of time to think things out, like will I kick my gym shoes off. I decided no because feet get cold really quick. Similarly, the helmet. My diving days taught that 80% of body heat is lost through the head, so it stayed on. Actually, it supported it's own weight and was not a problem from that aspect. After that, it just got colder and colder.

    So. There is little to be learned about water entry from that experience. However, with this in mind, if I had to ditch a gyro, I would never disconnect harness or helmet. Radio leads, maybe, assuming that the appropriate calls had been made. I would unlatch doors on enclosed cabins though. In my humble opinion, the ideal mode of entry would be zero forward airspeed with the rotor disc parallel to the surface of the water. The body angle is immaterial. I feel that to achieve this, it would be necessary to flare and slow at somewhere around 20' AGL because it is necessary to significantly increase the angle of attack of the rotor disc to achieve this situation. Flaring much lower would prejudice the clearance between the aft rotor disc and the water surface. If the disc hit the water, the gyro would immediately and rapidly roll/turn to the right uncontrolled. Assuming that one was able to achieve this attitude at the right time, the gyro would drop into the water and sink until the rotors hit the water. Yes, the pilot would still be strapped into this rapidly sinking, soon to be artificial reef. Once the rotors hit the water, they would twist off at the mast somewhere. The water resistance on the gyro airframe/body would be such as to preclude any significant rotation of it in the water when the rotors hit. Once the thrashing has stopped, the pilot releases his harness opens the door (if necessary) and floats/swims to the surface. Remember, allow the cabin to fill with water before trying to open the door. And all the time, our hero pilot stays cool, calm and collected as he plummets towards the bottom of the ocean.

    In my opinion again, the recommended action of flaring and rolling to the right before water impact serves to lessen the rotational/turning force that will result from the rotors striking the water, as happened in my accident. It follows then that this will lessen the impact of the pilot with the water, or the airframe in an enclosed cabin.

    Prevention is better that cure, so following the rules for gyros and over water flight, CAO 95.12.1 states that if you're over water further than you can glide to a safe landing on shore, the max distance from land is 25 NM and each occupant must WEAR a lifejacket and carry an approved ELB or PLB. The exception is trans Tasman crossings.

    Just my sixpence worth.

    Waddles.

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  • mad max
    replied
    Bert Hinkler used to tie an alarm clock around his neck and rigged it to go off on long water crossings if his head fell down when falling asleep. On another flight from the american continent to africa he took a small tropical monkey to talk to in an effort to stay awake. He took the monkey to England to live with his 3 legged cat but the poor fellow died of the cold.

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  • mad max
    replied
    I must say I have crossed some water and if I calculate that I wouldn't glide to the nearest waters edge I would count that time as 'dead mans time'. Calculated risks are of course sometimes necessary. If man never took them we would still be hunter gatherers.

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  • Tim
    commented on 's reply
    I think I recall another one Ross:-
    4) Fly the aircraft as far into the crash as possible.

  • WEST OZ FLYER
    replied
    One thing I would do is unplug the helmet from the jacks on the way down. I would keep my helmet on as long as possible, even after swimming away from the aircraft. The helmet would help keep body heat in longer as a lot of body heat is lost though the top of your head.

    The last thing on my mind would be landing so as the machine is recoverable. Save your backside first, then if the machine is salvageable that would be a welcomed bonus.

    Rick, I have been known to shortcut across the bay so I know what your thinking when you are low out to sea.

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  • RickE
    replied
    Point taken fellas, as this is all hypothetical my reasoning was that trying to undo a seatbelt in the panic of the situation may prove difficult not to mention the possibility of being knocked out during the event.
    The image I have of this scenario is landing with zero airspeed flat on the water, laying it over to stop the rotor blades and then swimming away when safe to do so. All of that in a perfect world.
    In regard to not flying over anything without a safe landing place, a pretty tall order for anyone that doesn't live in the country. From an instruction point of view though definitely the right advice.

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  • mad max
    replied
    If I was planning to do a long distance water crossing in a gyro I'd prob. wear a life vest, attach a marine beacon to my left side body, attach a miniture scuba 10 min. air bottle to my right side connected to a regulator. Maybe some small goggles on standby. If motor conks set off beacon and be ready to migrate to Reo. to avoid the $100'000 bill from the rescue services as you would be prob. breaking the rules. Almost forgot - if you survive the cold water if your down south, not to mention the odd curious white pointer.
    Last edited by mad max; 11-08-2016, 06:51 PM.

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  • RossM
    replied
    Does not matter if in a gyro, car, earth moving machine. Seat belt stays on!
    When learning to fly a plane, emergency landing procedure is to
    1). Set up best glide speed
    2). pick landing spot
    3). cabin check list, [one of them is, Harness done up and secure].

    Also, when flying over water, if you are not within gliding distance of land, you should carry emergency equipment such as life jacket. [this is my wording]

    [below is CASA wording]
    Land aircraft that carry passengers and are engaged in:
    (a) regular public transport operations; or
    (b) charter operations;
    shall be equipped with a life jacket or flotation device for each occupant on all flights where the take-off or approach path is so disposed over water that in the event of a mishap occurring during the departure or the arrival it is reasonably possible that the aircraft would be forced to land onto water".

    Regards...... Ross

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  • WEST OZ FLYER
    replied
    Rick, I am not sure about unclipping the seat belt before the blades stop. My hands would definitely be on the buckles ready to unclip when the thrashing stops. I don't want to end up outside of the machine while the blades are beating themselves to death.

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  • tonydenton
    replied
    emergency landing options . struth rick, yours are huge already, but I wouldn't be following your "into water procedure", I really need to think about this a bit.
    remember me saying my seat and seat belt was my "safety cell", your also saying waiting for the rotars thrashing around, to stop and swim away.
    no seat belt on before you touch down and the rotars thrashing around when they hit the water [ besides the fact that you want the rotars to hit on the right side first which will start the thrashing around earlier ] = trouble with a capital T.
    in my humble opinion anyway. because I thrashed around till I lay flattened on the ground.
    we have seen gyro accidents and because of some home built ideas, the seat belt brackets have been " light " to say the least. broken seat belt brackets have equalled death in some accidents . slightly stronger brackets and bolts would be only be a few extra grams at the most, so there is no excuse for too light seat belt mounts etc. that's why ASRA have specifications on mounts and angles of seat belts over shoulders and the retraining force they have to be capable of .
    that is what is needed at the time crashing. that's all at the time of the accident/crash. "have your seat belt on"
    taking off your seat belt would never be on my list.
    I could check my seat belt buckle before I touched down that my shirt or coat that I could be wearing wasn't in the way. although that would change when everything got wet or any thrashing around anyway.
    it could be interesting that we could ask ASRA for a crappy old nearly never going to fly again gyro, hang it from a crane over a tank ,even no engine on the back but just a counter weight for correct balance , some how spin the blades up and drop it in the tank to see what happens to the thrashing , the test tube dummy pilot strapped in etc etc . it would be our very own aussie myth busters..
    if anyone was going to ask asra, I can tell you the answer after another short story.
    after 2 lives were lost recently about a year ago when a tandum crashed into bushland, I spoke to ALAN WARDILL, about should it be taught that pilots were instructed how to put it down in trees, don't quote me on word for word but ALAN said " we teach pilots not to fly over trees" [ politically correct perfect answer too obviously alan ] and I respect him for that , but could they have lived if they dropped it and never had forward speed.[ I don't know if they did or didn't had forward speed ] which side is preferred for the rotars to hit etc etc.
    so I think asra would respectively say the rule for flying over water is ............this is the minimum height and distance..
    that's a hell of a long way out to water rick, I can see why and what would be going through your mind.
    I have been thinking about some sort of air bag inflation devices like in cars . but they stay pumped up . how much weight in that. ..
    memo: ring patent attorney in the morning..

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  • mad max
    replied
    My advice is to not cross any water unless you have the balls of Bert Hinkler. Always maintain a glide angle to the high tide mark, and in my area I would glide to the mangrove edge, flare in and pray the next few tides are not big ones, then urgently load my .44 mag. before gingerly wading up to hard ground.
    Last edited by mad max; 11-07-2016, 07:37 PM.

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  • RickE
    replied
    My strategy for putting down in water would be to land as slow as possible with my seat belt unclipped, roll it to the right as per Birdies advice which should hopefully keep all of the blade slapping behind the gyro wait until the mayhem stops and then swim away. Sounds easy, but add adrenaline, sheer terror, the thought of losing your machine and I'm sure it would not be that simple.
    We fly a route down here in Sydney called Victor one which takes you past Sydney heads and under the main flight path into Sydney, there are parts of this route that have to be flown about 2klm out to sea and must be flown under 500 feet above sea level, flying this route puts this discussion into a whole different light.

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