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Thread: Just a question or two.. from a non pilot

  1. #1
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    Default Just a question or two.. from a non pilot

    I read with sorrow the story of the young pilot from Spokane Wa. on one of your threads and and looked at all the great pictures he took of a couple of trips he made to Ak. and how he must of stalled the plane and died. I have flown quite a bit in Ak. hunting and guideing in the pass. seat or in the back of a cub. I also had a freind in the early "90s" that got his Reg. guide license and a year later went to Arizona to a flight school and got his pilots licnse. He had another pilot flew the plane to Ak. and he flew a few hours in it and he to crashed and him and another guide and instuctor in the back seat were both killed. I guess what I would like to know is it that easy to stall a cub. I know my freind had just installed new tundra tires shortly befofe the crash but why couldnt the instructor keep him from stalling the plane? Weather was not a factor. Thanks, ron.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    As a Cub pilot and Cub instructor, I have had times when it is almost impossible to over-power the controls while the person in the front seat has frozen up.
    In fact when I was a student pilot and learning in a PA-18, I stalled the plane about 5 feet in the air during a landing and froze up myself on both the throttle and stick as the instructor tried to push both forward. In that case the throttle link rod was bent...

    Well, about two years ago the exact same thing happened to me as an instructor. The client froze up and we were dropping straight down onto glassy water. I was trying to push the throttle and stick forward, but the client (a very high time Com Jet pilot) was pulling back so hard that I bent my inter-connecting rod between the two throttles. Glassy water gives you vertigo big time...

    There have been many, many, accidents caused by a pilot who stops flying so they can be a photographer or game spotter at low altitude. It is something that is very easy to catch yourself doing...

    You start to kick the rudder around or horse the ailerons to try to get a moose into the photo frame and the next thing with know, you are in a cross controlled stall at low altitude.

    The Cub family of aircraft already have a very tight turning radius. So when you try to make it turn impossibly tight, at low speed, you exceed the laws of physics.

    Cubs do not stall any worse than other aircraft.. They, the Husky and the Citabria / Champ line of planes let both rear and front seat pilots see directly down on either side of the plane. So if one pilot in back or front is taking photos or spotting, the other pilot is tempted to look at the same ground target. Something you cannot do in a side-by side plane.

    Plus the narrow body and windows that touch your shoulders, let you pretty much look straight down without having to roll in much bank angle. Not enough or little bank angle with some rudder skids tossed into the mix for target acquisition are a good way to get into trouble at low speeds.

    Also when flying a side by side plane, one pilot can see another coming onto the controls. It is also easier to get a frozen student off the controls when you are sitting next to him or her. ( a good sideways smack)
    If you grab the controls from the backseat of a Cub without having time to say anything over the intercom, the front seat pilot often thinks something has gone wrong and they over-react in an attempt to give opposite inputs.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by shanksmare View Post
    I read with sorrow the story of the young pilot from Spokane Wa. on one of your threads and and looked at all the great pictures he took of a couple of trips he made to Ak. and how he must of stalled the plane and died. I have flown quite a bit in Ak. hunting and guideing in the pass. seat or in the back of a cub. I also had a freind in the early "90s" that got his Reg. guide license and a year later went to Arizona to a flight school and got his pilots licnse. He had another pilot flew the plane to Ak. and he flew a few hours in it and he to crashed and him and another guide and instuctor in the back seat were both killed. I guess what I would like to know is it that easy to stall a cub. I know my freind had just installed new tundra tires shortly befofe the crash but why couldnt the instructor keep him from stalling the plane? Weather was not a factor. Thanks, ron.
    Float Pilot is correct. Perhaps more easily uinderstood is the stall/spin cause at low altitude.

    If the pilot isin't paying attention to his flying, and is instead also looking at something on the ground - - - all this at low altitude, low airspeed, steep angle of bank, and in a turn, there is a tendency for the angle of bank to increase. There is a REAL tendency for the pilot to try keeping the higher wing down by using just a little opposite rudder pressure. When that doesn't work too well, the pilot increases (inconcsiously) the rudder pressure slightly on the high wing side in order to force that wing down a little. The next thing that will happen is that the low wing stalls (it's going through the air more slowly than is the high wing) and that high wing comes over the top. It's a very quick spin entry, and since a spin may take between 500- and 700-feet loss of altitude for the spin to make one full turn, and normal spin recovery also takes several hundred feet, there is simply not enough time and altitude for the aircraft to be returned to level flight. This is the CLASSIC stall/spin accident.

    Almost certainly that is what happened to the young pilot from Spokane. One observor said that pilot was circling over the carcass of a dead whale that had washed up on the beach. That pilot had an excellent aircraft and a considerable amount of experience. In the case of your friend, it is quite likely that all aboard were looking at the ground. Including the pilot . . . . .


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    Member IndyCzar's Avatar
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    and old saying..."a cub fly's just fast enough to kill you"...point being, no matter if super cub or a J3, 1946 with a 90hp motor...you always have to fly the plane first...Aviate, Navigate, communicate...

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    Very informative and well stated Float Pilot and Grizzly.

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