PDA

View Full Version : Plane crash procedures



shadowwalker
07-19-2011, 10:00 PM
I've looked on the internet and can't find this, so hopefully can get some help here.

I have a Gulfstream I crash landing at a small private airport (landing gear collapses on landing and it flips on its side). I'm trying to find out a) what possible injuries would be likely (passengers and pilots) and b) what would be the emergency responder procedure for extracting the occupants.

Links to sites or organizations to contact would be fine, as I'm not sure I'll even use this in the actual story at this point. I just have to have some idea of what could/would happen.

Thanks for any help :)

BigWords
07-19-2011, 11:20 PM
No idea what the actual procedure would be, but you should look at the NTSB website (http://www.ntsb.gov/).

shadowwalker
07-19-2011, 11:26 PM
No idea what the actual procedure would be, but you should look at the NTSB website (http://www.ntsb.gov/).

Wow. That should keep me occupied for a while! LOL

Thanks :D

jclarkdawe
07-19-2011, 11:49 PM
Level of injuries can be anywhere from they walk away to they're dead. And they may or may not be burnt if the plane catches on fire. Crashes on landing are less likely to burn than taking off.

Response is from the municipal fire department, unless the airport has its own department. Usually the nearest engine company will have a deck gun with foam capability. Usual response will be a couple of engines, one or more rescues/ambulances, and one or more ladder companies (ladder trucks have heavy rescue equipment).

Extrication is roughly similar to a car accident. You make sure the plane is stable, force open the doors if possible, or cut the plane to crap to remove occupants. Planes usually tend to be easy to cut in many places than cars because the body work is not as heavy gauge metal.

From the firefighters I've known to respond to small plane crashes, they sound a lot more exciting than they actually are. All it really is is a car with wings and some really flammable fuel.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

shadowwalker
07-20-2011, 12:28 AM
Extrication is roughly similar to a car accident. You make sure the plane is stable, force open the doors if possible, or cut the plane to crap to remove occupants. Planes usually tend to be easy to cut in many places than cars because the body work is not as heavy gauge metal.

Thanks for the info. I was thinking it could be similar to a car wreck, but I know nothing about planes so... :tongue

Kitti
07-20-2011, 01:57 AM
What Jim said.

Here's a real life example of a small plane crash on landing, with pix: http://www.thebaynet.com/news/index.cfm/fa/viewstory/story_ID/3654

Buffysquirrel
07-20-2011, 01:59 AM
I might well be corrected by AWers with better knowledge than my own, but I would've thought in that situation, the plane flipping would be unlikely. If the nose wheel collapses, the plane's nose hits the ground and it skids along on its belly throwing up sparks. If the landing gear collapses on one side, the wing on that side hits the ground. To flip round that wing...I don't know. Someone help me!

shadowwalker
07-20-2011, 02:01 AM
What Jim said.

Here's a real life example of a small plane crash on landing, with pix: http://www.thebaynet.com/news/index.cfm/fa/viewstory/story_ID/3654

Thanks - looks remarkably like what I was picturing,actually. :)

shadowwalker
07-20-2011, 02:08 AM
I might well be corrected by AWers with better knowledge than my own, but I would've thought in that situation, the plane flipping would be unlikely. If the nose wheel collapses, the plane's nose hits the ground and it skids along on its belly throwing up sparks. If the landing gear collapses on one side, the wing on that side hits the ground. To flip round that wing...I don't know. Someone help me!

The scenario I had envisioned was a side landing gear breaking apart (due to mechanical malfunction) and the plane's wing hitting the ground - hard. The wing would then break apart, causing the plane to flip (flop?) onto its side. But perhaps that scenario isn't realistic either.

whacko
07-20-2011, 02:42 AM
Hey SW,

Whe I read the OP I immediately thought of ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard's near-death experience in a Learjet.

Here's a link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/733565.stm

DC and his girlfriend survived. The pilots, sadly, didn't.

Regards

Whacko

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-20-2011, 02:45 AM
I have a Gulfstream I crash landing at a small private airport (landing gear collapses on landing and it flips on its side). I'm trying to find out a) what possible injuries would be likely (passengers and pilots)


and b) what would be the emergency responder procedure for extracting the occupants.


How bad does your plot need to hurt them ... tell us that and we can figure out the mechanism of the crash to make it happen.

Extraction is much like automobiles - stabilize necks, splint busted limbs, etc. and then haul them out on a backboard. The hydraulic openers used to pry apart the body of the plane is needed.

More attention to fire vontrol because aviation fuel is more likelty to catch on fire.

shadowwalker
07-20-2011, 02:49 AM
Hey SW,

Whe I read the OP I immediately thought of ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard's near-death experience in a Learjet.

Here's a link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/733565.stm

DC and his girlfriend survived. The pilots, sadly, didn't.

Regards

Whacko

Thanks. I'm seeing more and more incidents where the passengers were able to extricate themselves. Don't know if that's as common as it appears or if I'm just finding those articles. The pilots don't seem to fare as well, unfortunately.

shadowwalker
07-20-2011, 02:53 AM
How bad does your plot need to hurt them ... tell us that and we can figure out the mechanism of the crash to make it happen.

Extraction is much like automobiles - stabilize necks, splint busted limbs, etc. and then haul them out on a backboard. The hydraulic openers used to pry apart the body of the plane is needed.

More attention to fire vontrol because aviation fuel is more likelty to catch on fire.

The copilot needs to be hurt badly enough to never want to fly again, but survivable and not with a permanent disability. But I've set up the damaged landing gear/wing to be on his side also. The pilot I'm looking at relatively minor injuries due to the sudden jolt/seatbelt.

jclarkdawe
07-20-2011, 02:55 AM
I might well be corrected by AWers with better knowledge than my own, but I would've thought in that situation, the plane flipping would be unlikely. If the nose wheel collapses, the plane's nose hits the ground and it skids along on its belly throwing up sparks. If the landing gear collapses on one side, the wing on that side hits the ground. To flip round that wing...I don't know. Someone help me!

I'm no great expert on planes, but my guess is the following happens. As long as the part touching the ground keeps skidding, the plane stays upright. If the part touching the ground grabs or buries in the ground, the part causes that part to stop, while the rest of the plane wants to continue moving. Result is a flip. Speed is also a factor here, as the faster the plane is going, the more likely a snag will be to cause it to flip.

A plane's center of gravity is lower than a car's with a wider area, so I think a plane is less likely to flip. But I've seen pictures of crashed planes upright and upside down. Both happen and very few people are going to understand the dynamics of accident reconstruction to quibble with the result.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Buffysquirrel
07-20-2011, 01:49 PM
And, if the plane were landing too fast, that might be what broke the undercarriage. *nods*

shadowwalker
07-20-2011, 05:26 PM
The faulty landing gear happened when the plane landed in a very remote area in South America - basically the only flat stretch they could find, although very rough. (Leaky hydraulics, in a nutshell). Because of pursuit, they didn't have time to properly repair it, thus when they landed the next time, their luck ran out.

I hope that's also believable just because of the headaches developed trying to figure out the technical manual! :Headbang:

debirlfan
07-21-2011, 09:23 AM
Your plane might be more likely to flip if it's landing on grass/dirt and it's muddy (broken gear digs into the soft ground).

And your co-pilot not wanting to fly again may have noting to do with extent of injuries. If the accident scares him badly enough (for example, him and the others aboard barely manage to get out before the plane burns to a crisp) - then he might not be hurt at all, but yet have a panic reaction when he thinks about flying again.

shadowwalker
07-21-2011, 06:39 PM
Your plane might be more likely to flip if it's landing on grass/dirt and it's muddy (broken gear digs into the soft ground).

It is a private airport, so it would be easy enough (I think) to have them slide off the runway itself and onto grass or mud. Definitely would increase the probability of flipping, I would agree.


And your co-pilot not wanting to fly again may have noting to do with extent of injuries. If the accident scares him badly enough (for example, him and the others aboard barely manage to get out before the plane burns to a crisp) - then he might not be hurt at all, but yet have a panic reaction when he thinks about flying again.

Quite true. Just watching the runway swirl away in a maelstrom, accompanied by the noise of the crash itself followed by a traumatic escape... yeah, who needs an injury? ;)

Hallen
07-21-2011, 09:24 PM
Crashes on landing are less likely to burn than taking off.

All it really is is a car with wings and some really flammable fuel.


Planes are no more likely to burn on a takeoff crash than they are on a landing crash. Yes, there is more fuel on board during takeoff, generally, but that doesn't mean they are more likely to burn. A half full fuel tank is actually more dangerous than a full one because there is more likely to be fuel/air vapor in the tank which is highly flammable and potentially explosive. However, most modern fuel systems have mechanisms to vent this kind of thing to minimize the risk. Also, all fuel systems are "crash worthy" these days. They have cut off valves, rubber, self-sealing, fuel tanks and other safety features. They can and do rupture and burn in major crashes, but it takes a whole lot of smashing for that to happen (or a system failure).

Jet fuel is technically less flammable than car gas. It's just highly filtered diesel. It has a higher flash point than car gas so is less likely to ignite from a spark than gas (petrol if you're across the pond).

Modern reciprocating engine airplanes use something very similar to car gas, but again, it's better filtered and has other additives. But it's no more flammable than car gas.



I'm no great expert on planes, but my guess is the following happens. As long as the part touching the ground keeps skidding, the plane stays upright. If the part touching the ground grabs or buries in the ground, the part causes that part to stop, while the rest of the plane wants to continue moving. Result is a flip. Speed is also a factor here, as the faster the plane is going, the more likely a snag will be to cause it to flip.
Yes. A single gear failure is dangerous because of the drag on that side and the risk of catching the wing tip causing the airplane to violently rotate and possibly start the tumbling flips. I'd much rather have a nose gear failure than a main gear failure. In practice, if you know one of your main gears is not down and locked, the pilot will opt for a belly landing (landing gear retracted) rather than try to land on one main gear and the nose gear.


A plane's center of gravity is lower than a car's with a wider area, so I think a plane is less likely to flip.
Probably not.
CG varies per aircraft just like it will per car. It depends on configuration, cargo and weight. An airplane's center of gravity is much more sensitive longitudinally than a car's because of it's center of lift vs 4 tires on the ground, but vertical CG is going to be roughly similar.

Anyway, if the pilot does not know they have a problem with a main gear, the landing can go very badly. A tumble is pretty likely in this case. The gear will probably collapse on contact with the ground and the pilot won't be ready for it. The wing on the Gulfstream is a low wing configuration with no engine pod on the wing. The wing tip will contact the ground, if it snags, the plane can potentially flip.

Hope this helps.

shadowwalker
07-21-2011, 09:39 PM
Hope this helps.

Thank you. I appreciate the detailed information, although I do think the comments to Jim could've been withheld. He did state he was not an expert on planes, and I am grateful for all the responses I've had so far. They've helped not only factually but in bringing up other questions/concerns I need to address. :)

Hallen
07-21-2011, 09:40 PM
although I do think the comments to Jim could've been withheld. :)
You are correct. I'd already deleted that part. It was unfair.

Buffysquirrel
07-21-2011, 11:30 PM
Very interesting.

CaseyMack
08-05-2011, 03:34 AM
Here are a few things you might want to consider:

1). It is unlikely that the aircraft will flip. Even if one of the main gear collapses, aircraft wings are strong enough to support the entire weight of the plane--they have to, otherwise the plane couldn't fly! Unless a wing is shorn off, the aircraft will probably slide along the ground more or less intact (you should be able to find good videos and pictures of this from WWII--especially 8th Air Force B-17s, which landed without gear or with only one main gear, frequently). If you really want the damned thing to flip, it has to have a wing sheared off by contact with an object. That would both shear-off the wing, and induce a rotational moment to the aircraft about its vertical axis (i.e., make it start spinning--as Hallen mentions.) The trouble is that unless the Gulfstream was using an airport unsuitable to it, there shouldn't be objects for its wings to both contact and be sturdy enough to shear a wing off.

2). Depending how small the "small airport" is, it might have no firefighting or emergency equipment at all. (You might be surprised at the size of airports at which this is true--and I mean really surprised.) For that reason, it would be legitimate to write in any level of equipment and response your story needs.

3) The following site has lots and lots of accident reports. You might find some useful information in the reports--although it may take a while. http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/index.aspx

4) I believe that Horizon Air had that kind of accident at SeaTac some years ago. You might do a search for it. The only thing is that that was a high-wing, Dash-8 aircraft--I think.

Happy Landings!

shadowwalker
08-05-2011, 06:18 AM
Thanks for the info. Maybe it should just be the propellor that breaks apart... I'll check out that Horizon Air - maybe there's a video (seems to be a huge cache of those).

Definitely like the idea that the airport doesn't have to have its own emergency equipment. It actually would work better that way.

Thanks again. :)

CaseyMack
08-06-2011, 03:12 AM
Hi shadowwalker

Check these out:

Keep in mind, this is a crash rather than a landing. Note that, even still, the plane doesn't flip over.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a8a_1188708940

This one seems close to the G-I accident you describe. In this one, note the remarkable ending position of the aircraft. Note also the reason given for the wheels-up landing!

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6b9cdeb6d2

Last, not least, here's a B737 landing on one main gear.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fd4_1180503736

I hope you find these short videos useful!

Cheers,
Casey

Hallen
08-06-2011, 03:37 AM
Here are a few things you might want to consider:

1). It is unlikely that the aircraft will flip.

I gotta argue that a little bit. I would say as long as the wing does not dig in, or the yaw rate was kept under control, it is unlikely to flip. But, if the wing does dig in, it's going to tumble. It is much more likely to happen if the yaw rate is not controlled. If the pilot is not expecting the gear to collapse, then it is much more likely the yaw rate will get out of control and then a tumble is much more likely. But, that's probably being a bit pedantic on my part.

BTW, the pilots in all the example except the airshow one, did one hellofa job getting those planes down safely. That's no easy task.

Al Stevens
08-06-2011, 03:56 AM
The faulty landing gear happened when the plane landed in a very remote area in South America - basically the only flat stretch they could find, although very rough. (Leaky hydraulics, in a nutshell). Because of pursuit, they didn't have time to properly repair it, thus when they landed the next time, their luck ran out.

I hope that's also believable just because of the headaches developed trying to figure out the technical manual! :Headbang:
Not believable. First, it's unlikely that he could have taken off with that defect. The gear would have collapsed on the takeoff run. Second, if the pilot knows about the defect, he does not attempt to land with the gear down. That would be suicide. He makes a grass strip landing with the gear up to minimize sparks, keep from tearing the bottom of the wing off, thus exposing gas, and make for a smoother slide out. The engines on a Gulfstream are in the back above the fuselage, so they aren't a problem. I'd try to put it in a lake if one was nearby.

If the pilot does not know about the defect and tries a gear-down landing, and the gear collapses, the plane is slowed down a lot by the bad gear scraping along the runway. The wing touches down. A flip is unlikely. It should take a lot more than a 100mph scrape to tear a wing off a Gulfstream, and a bird with two wings is unlikely to flip. A ground loop is more likely because the other wing is off the ground and develops more lift. (in a ground loop, the plane swaps ends but stays upright.)

The big worry is that the fuel in the wing tank explodes after impact, which can happen, but might not because he is on grass and there are fewer sparks. Now, if he hits a tree and rips off a wing, anything can happen.

The scenario you describe involves an incompetent and/or inexperienced pilot, one who is not likely to be handling a Gulfstream.

But, in a plane crash, nothing goes according to conventional wisdom.

Hallen
08-06-2011, 04:17 AM
Not believable. First, it's unlikely that he could have taken off with that defect. The gear would have collapsed on the takeoff run. Second, if the pilot knows about the defect, he does not attempt to land with the gear down. That would be suicide. He makes a grass strip landing with the gear up to minimize sparks, keep from tearing the bottom of the wing off, thus exposing gas, and make for a smoother slide out. The engines on a Gulfstream are in the back above the fuselage, so they aren't a problem. I'd try to put it in a lake if one was nearby.

If the pilot does not know about the defect and tries a gear-down landing, and the gear collapses, the plane is slowed down a lot by the bad gear scraping along the runway. The wing touches down. A flip is unlikely. It should take a lot more than a 100mph scrape to tear a wing off a Gulfstream, and a bird with two wings is unlikely to flip. A ground loop is more likely because the other wing is off the ground and develops more lift. (in a ground loop, the plane swaps ends but stays upright.)

The big worry is that the fuel in the wing tank explodes after impact, which can happen, but might not because he is on grass and there are fewer sparks. Now, if he hits a tree and rips off a wing, anything can happen.

The scenario you describe involves an incompetent and/or inexperienced pilot, one who is not likely to be handling a Gulfstream.

But, in a plane crash, nothing goes according to conventional wisdom.

1) The hydraulic failure part is a big stretch. A mechanical failure is more likely. The hydraulic systems are monitored and a leak would most likely be detected. Plus, as far as I know, the hydraulic part is only used to extend and retract the gear. It's not what is used to keep the gear in position once down.
2) Pilots doing stupid things in remote areas often don't check a lot of things on their planes. In other words, they aren't strictly responsible. A hard landing would often not even be a blip on their radar. Multiple hard landings in the same plane often don't get written up. This last one might be the straw that will break the camel's back.
3) If a gear is going to fail, it's going to fail on landing when the most stress is applied. Most engine failures happen on takeoff for this very reason. Sure, they can fail on takeoff too, but it's more likely to happen on landing.
4) I would never choose a grass strip for two reasons. First, it's much more likely to dig into the dirt and then you will get a flip and second, there is never fire and emergency services at a grass strip. (and third, they're always short and often bumpy. I want lots of room, emergency stuff, smooth runways, and lots of room. Did I mention lots of room?)

You are right that if you know only one main gear is down, you will choose a belly landing over a single main gear landing. But the point in this case was the pilot did not know the gear would fail. It is possible. The the micro switch is activated, but the gear isn't locked. A poorly adjusted switch can cause this. The touchdown on the failed side will be abrupt and violent. It won't be pretty.

I've watched a lot of tight-budget operators fly some stuff that I'd never consider getting into. It's all a matter of degree. And I'm talking about some pretty expensive equipment here. So, beyond the hydraulics part, the rest is pretty believable even if you've been around aviation a long time like I have.

Aerial
08-06-2011, 04:39 AM
If by chance there are people shooting at your airplane during that rushed takeoff, you could conceivably deflate the tires on one gear and get your unexpected uneven landing that way. They'd have to shoot out both tires on one side, but then you'd have a whole lot more friction on one side than the other. It wouldn't be too hard to have that go bad.

I just did a quick search... you're using the Grumman Gulfstream I, a twin turboprop aircraft, not a Gulfstream G150 business jet, correct? If so, the prop/s will disintegrate when the gear collapses, throwing shrapnel around as well as increasing the fire risk since the engines are on the wing.

Another thought I had was that, if the airport is really small, your Gulfstream could simply overrun the end of the runway and you wouldn't have to mess with the landing gear issues at all. There can be a ditch or a road or a cow pasture or somebody's tractor or whatever just off the end of a very small rural runway.

Aerial

Al Stevens
08-06-2011, 04:45 AM
1) Plus, as far as I know, the hydraulic part is only used to extend and retract the gear. It's not what is used to keep the gear in position once down.

Right. "Down and locked" is mechanical. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to hand crank a gear, which is a mechanical rather than hydraulic operation. I've had to do that following electrical failure twice. That was in a Mooney. I can't say for a Gulfstream.


Most engine failures happen on takeoff for this very reason.
As I recall, *most* engine failures happen during a power setting change when the engine is pulling. Typically when you back off to cruise after a climbout. That was when I had both mine. And became an instant glider pilot.

4) I would never choose a grass strip for two reasons. First, it's much more likely to dig into the dirt and then you will get a flip...
Not as likely with the gear up in a low-wing aircraft.

... and second, there is never fire and emergency services at a grass strip. (and third, they're always short and often bumpy.
I was applying that choice to the situation being discussed. Paved strips are often adjacent to grass median strips.


I want lots of room, emergency stuff, smooth runways, and lots of room. Did I mention lots of room?)
Give a choice in a Gulfstream I'd want a big, wide, long, foamed runway with emergency service standing by. i don't think the pilot in this story has that choice. I'd definitely choose grass over pavement.

But the point in this case was the pilot did not know the gear would fail.I got the impression that he knew, but the urgency of getting out of there kept him from getting it fixed. Whatever.

It is possible. The the micro switch is activated, but the gear isn't locked. A poorly adjusted switch can cause this. The touchdown on the failed side will be abrupt and violent. It won't be pretty.Been there, etc.


I've watched a lot of tight-budget operators fly some stuff that I'd never consider getting into.
I've flown a lot of junk. Old days. It's fun to talk about it now, but I don't know how I managed to survive.

"I'm not flying that piece of crap!"
"What's wrong with it? We just had it painted."

Al Stevens
08-06-2011, 04:54 AM
I just did a quick search... you're using the Grumman Gulfstream I, a twin turboprop aircraft, not a Gulfstream G150 business jet, correct?Oops. I missed that part. I was thinking it was a pipe. Yeah, the props bring a whole 'nother complication into the day.

CaseyMack
08-06-2011, 05:53 AM
I gotta argue that a little bit. I would say as long as the wing does not dig in, or the yaw rate was kept under control, it is unlikely to flip. But, if the wing does dig in, it's going to tumble. It is much more likely to happen if the yaw rate is not controlled. If the pilot is not expecting the gear to collapse, then it is much more likely the yaw rate will get out of control and then a tumble is much more likely. But, that's probably being a bit pedantic on my part.

BTW, the pilots in all the example except the airshow one, did one hellofa job getting those planes down safely. That's no easy task.

I making my comments, I based the expectation of the aircraft not flipping on the pilot practising correct airmanship. (In fact, I'm very impressed that the guy who forgot to lower his gear nonetheless was right on the centreline!)

I've never landed with a serious main gear problem--although I have had to with a serious nose gear problem. It ended well; practising good airmanship was key to the outcome of that situation.

Once again, I expect an aircraft won't flip over unless there is catastrophic wing damage. If the pilot follows correct procedures (and assuming he/she doesn't lose control during the approach), and assuming the landing is at an airport suitable for the aircraft, even if the main gear collapses after touchdown, there shouldn't be catastrophic wing damage-- and therefore no flipping of the aircraft. The aircraft may exit the runway, but that wouldn't necessarily mean a flip-over.

As I remarked earlier, footage of B-17 landings during WWII seem consistent with this expectation.

I would be interested in seeing reports of, or footage where, an aircraft flips over after landing. Honestly, such a video or report would be instructive concerning the point being discussed. If anyone can find one, please provide a link.

As Canada's Aviation Safety Letter says: "Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself!"

debirlfan
08-06-2011, 07:53 AM
The following is from memory, and it was a long time ago (early 80's), and I'm not a pilot, so some of the details may be off, but...

At the time, I was in the National Guard in an avcrad (aviation) unit. We shared the local (civilian) airport, and up in the avionics section where I was, we had access to the radios so we could hear the tower/planes/etc.

One day I was there on drill, there was an old WWII vintage plane with a problem - he couldn't get the gear on one side to lock down. I'm not sure if he couldn't get the other side up, or if they just didn't want to do a belly landing - a complicating factor was that the plane had a glass nose (turret?)

As I remember, they flew around for awhile burning off most of their fuel and I believe there were attempts made to "shake" the plane to get the gear to lock (it didn't).

Eventually they came in for a landing. (I'm fairly certain it was on the grass adjacent to the landing strip, but I'm not positive of that.) Pilot kept the plane balanced on the intact landing gear as long as he could, then slowly eased the other side down. There was actually only fairly minimal damage done to the plane.

The above would seem to be a "best case" scenario. :) If you're looking for something worse, what if instead of not locking, something in the gear flat out snapped? (Maybe as someone suggested, they were shot at and there was bullet damage?) Could the lower part of the gear shear off? If it did, might the remaining part be more likely to dig in (especially on grass)?

Al Stevens
08-06-2011, 05:27 PM
I had the gear collapse on landing once. This followed an electrical failure in the air and hand cranking. Touchdown, drop, very loud scraping noise. The prop dug in under power, the gear doors were torn up, and the foot step to get into the airplane was sheared off. The "rollout" was about ten feet. There was very little damage to the underbelly. Low wing Mooney. It kind of ruined my day.

shadowwalker
08-06-2011, 05:53 PM
First off, my apologies for not responding earlier - caught a couple as I was on my way out to work and the rest this a.m.

Second - thank you all so very much for the comments and discussion and links and - well, everything! I'm going to have to take some time and digest all the information so I choose the proper calamity, I can see that :D But yes, it is a Gulfstream I. I had envisioned the private airport a bit larger, but the more I consider the info here, the more I'm thinking it should be a smaller one, akin to the 1-2 runways that some of the local farmers have. Mechanical damage due to gunshot also sounds not only doable in the story, but more believable for the crash landing.

As to the pilot, he is experienced but rusty (it's been 3-4 years since he's flown anything). So maybe that, coupled with his thinking the gear had been temporarily fixed (and it not breaking until they'd actually landed) would allow for a less than stellar reaction. ?

But yes, must digest this all! And again - thank you everyone :D

Al Stevens
08-06-2011, 06:43 PM
As to the pilot, he is experienced but rusty (it's been 3-4 years since he's flown anything).
That's a biggie. An experienced, competent pilot would not fly a Gulfstream until he's had a thorough checkride. Not after that long a period of time out of the cockpit and certainly not with passengers. To do so would be foolhardy, and pilots know this.

So... You have to make it an emergency. They have to leave for safety's sake. The bad guys are just over the horizon, and there is no one else to fly the airplane.

FWIW, I read that fewer than 50 Gulfstream I airplanes are in operation today. No wonder they couldn't get it fixed.

I recommend that you get a technical review of your ms by someone with time in complex, corporate aircraft. There's too many opportunities for small errors to creep in. Pilots reading your book would call attention to that and ignore the more substantial parts of your work.

shadowwalker
08-06-2011, 06:53 PM
So... You have to make it an emergency. They have to leave for safety's sake. The bad guys are just over the horizon, and there is no one else to fly the airplane.

Oh, it's definitely an emergency. If they don't take off, the authorities will return them to the country they just left - and that would mean long, long prison terms, at best (due to the probability of nasty political repercussions, etc).

Al Stevens
08-06-2011, 08:16 PM
Oh, it's definitely an emergency. If they don't take off, the authorities will return them to the country they just left - and that would mean long, long prison terms, at best (due to the probability of nasty political repercussions, etc).
In that case, I'd take off in the Space Shuttle, leaving brown contrails.

Evice
08-07-2011, 01:23 AM
I worked in military air traffic control for 9 years, and was unfortunate to be present at a airfield crash where there were no survivors.

The procedure for us was this:

The airfield is mapped out into squares which are labeled A1, B1, C1 etc. After the crash the call would go out over the radio to the airfield fire engines and medics and they are given the area the crashed aircraft is in. The amount of fire engines on duty depend on the size of the aircraft the airfield accepts. You cannot accept large aircraft if you dont have the fire cover.

A Crash on the airfield is termed Emergency State one, so the message out over the ground radio might be "Emergency state one, emergency state one, Delta 4"

Meanwhile the controller will tannoy the emergency state one to the whole base, and deal with any other aircraft in the circuit or on the way, who may have to be diverted depending on where the crash has taken place.

If the crash is right in the middle of all the runways then the airfield is unusable, or the runway in use may have to change to get other aircraft landed.

If the other runways are still in use after the crash or are to be used soon after, then a team would need to go out and pick up FOD, basically foreign objects from the crash which may be dangerous for other aircraft, this might include maps, clothing, etc.

While i am not a pilot or mechanic so cannot comment too much on what might caused gear (undercarraige) to malfunction in the first place, i have been present at plenty of tyre burst situations and a few gear problems. It has been my experience that most gear damage occurs when the pilot slams it down too hard on the runway, or flies too fast with the gear down. My husband is an aircraft engineer and he used to hate it when the pilots did this as it meant they had to check and fix the whole thing before it could fly again and apparantly it isnt a nice job. When coming in to land procedure was that every pilot had to call 'gear down', that meant that the three green lights showing his gear was down and locked had to be in place.

If the pilot doesnt have three green lights then he may do a fly past the tower so that we could take a look and see if the gear was down or not, there are lights so that this can be done at night also. If one of the back wheels are not down it is better to try and land with the gear up if it can be put back up. If it is the front one then it is better to land on the back wheels and just keep the nose up as long as possible, i have seen this done and the plane can almost stop by the time the front drops if the pilot is skilled.

When it comes to injuries i would say anything can happen, you could make up anything you wanted here really because it depends on fire, how bad the crash is, did it catch a wing and flip, was the pilot bad or good.

Of course i worked on a military base although we had small civilian passenger planes come and pay to land quite a lot, the procedure may be different to other places, but hopefully my experiences will help a little :)

Hallen
08-07-2011, 04:31 AM
I had the gear collapse on landing once. This followed an electrical failure in the air and hand cranking. Touchdown, drop, very loud scraping noise. The prop dug in under power, the gear doors were torn up, and the foot step to get into the airplane was sheared off. The "rollout" was about ten feet. There was very little damage to the underbelly. Low wing Mooney. It kind of ruined my day.
Dude, you've had more failures and problems than I ever had. I flew military, so the equipment was extremely well maintained. The only gear failures I've had were in the sims, thankfully. (of course, in the old Huey, the gear was "down and welded", but I have more hours in airplanes)

The point here is that lots of stuff *can* happen. Set it up reasonably, and it will be believable.

I'm still going to land it on the runway if I have a choice. It's guaranteed to be clear, where if you land in the grass, you have no idea what's hidden there. (we'll ignore elk on the runway which I have had -- Astoria, OR. Damn giant rats)

shadowwalker
08-07-2011, 07:49 PM
Once again, thanks for all the comments (even the Space Shuttle one :D). Evice, glad you mentioned that 'hard landing/gear damage' - it offers another alternative which would work given the circumstances I've set for this poor pilot! :tongue

Evice
08-07-2011, 08:33 PM
No probs :) I went on a flight to France once, the French pilot slammed the aircaft down so hard when we landed that most of the passengers screamed hehe. I wasn't amused at the time but now i look back i have to smile, i think he was too scared to come out after that and face us lol

I did hear once that after a very hard landing, an old lady asked the pilot "Did we land or were we shot down" wish i could have seen his face lol

CaseyMack
08-10-2011, 03:11 AM
I had the gear collapse on landing once. This followed an electrical failure in the air and hand cranking. Touchdown, drop, very loud scraping noise. The prop dug in under power, the gear doors were torn up, and the foot step to get into the airplane was sheared off. The "rollout" was about ten feet. There was very little damage to the underbelly. Low wing Mooney. It kind of ruined my day.

Hey Al,

That sure sounds like an exciting sequence of events. I'll bet your beer never tasted so good!

Al Stevens
08-10-2011, 05:50 AM
Hey Al,

That sure sounds like an exciting sequence of events. I'll bet your beer never tasted so good!Yep. What made it more interesting was it was in rural northern Virginia, it was Super Bowl Sunday, and the Skins were playing the Cowboys. No one was at the airport, and I couldn't get anyone there to move the airplane off the runway. I worried that some poor soul making a night landing would crash into my disabled plane. Its elecrtical system had failed and I had no lights on it. The Skins started to lose big time, and then I got some help before nightfall.

R Patrick
08-20-2011, 02:39 AM
The faulty landing gear happened when the plane landed in a very remote area in South America - basically the only flat stretch they could find, although very rough. (Leaky hydraulics, in a nutshell). Because of pursuit, they didn't have time to properly repair it, thus when they landed the next time, their luck ran out.

I hope that's also believable just because of the headaches developed trying to figure out the technical manual! :Headbang:

Leaky hydraulics wont cause a complete gear failure on a gulfstream or any other turbine aircraft I fly. There are always alternatives when you lose hydraulic pressure to get the gear down, pretty much all complex aircraft are designed with redundant systems. Most landing gear systems are freefall type systems anyway with a set of uplocks and downlocks. Meaning they use hydraulic pressure to raise the gear and keep the gear up, but if it fails the gear still always can come down. Although 99.9% of readers would never know the difference.. so it's up to you how accurate you want to be.

I know the G-2 for example has a nitrogen backup so that you can release the uplocks and drive the gear down if in an emergency if you have a hydraulic failure. My current aircraft you can manually release the uplocks with an electric and a hydraulic backup, there is also a manual freefall lever which releases pressure giving us a total of 3 backups. If gravity isn't enough to get the gear down, you can side slip the aircraft to put a wind load on the gear forcing it into place and locked with the downlocks.

I'm not exactly sure what the G1 has for warnings but I know in my Jet, I would get all kinds of warnings saying the gear isn't down and locked. First off, 3 green lights wouldn't be indicated on the panel, We would get a landing gear/lever disagree warning on the display, master caution chimes, Hydraulic low or hydraulic fail warnings if associated to hydraulics , then once we descended below 1200' above ground with the power reduced and flaps set the radar altimeter warnings would start.. you'd hear the bitchin Betty warning alert screaming "landing gear" "landing gear" "landing gear"

If you are looking for a more realistic alternative. We had a lucky save caught on a postflight check where one of our main landing gear pivot pins sheared off. The actual pin was huge, about the diameter of a coke can and the end with the head on it completely sheared off. It was starting to work it's way out but luckily a pilot saw it. That could have potentially caused a catastrophic failure.

CaseyMack
10-28-2011, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the info. Maybe it should just be the propellor that breaks apart... I'll check out that Horizon Air - maybe there's a video (seems to be a huge cache of those).

Definitely like the idea that the airport doesn't have to have its own emergency equipment. It actually would work better that way.

Thanks again. :)

Hey shadowwalker,
I thought I'd mention that we just had an accident here in Vancouver that you might find of interest (if you're still considering examples as discussed in this thread). I don't have a URL, but I'm sure there's video and photos on the web. Try searching keywords -- King Air accident Vancouver International YVR.