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Reno Air Races accident.

Old 09-17-2011, 03:17 AM
  #1  
TM4197
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Default Reno Air Races accident.

So sad to see and hear of the Reno Air Races accident. So many years this venue has run without extreme distaster. I think its so very important to keep this intertainment alive for its fans. Many injuries and deaths involved, I hope they will be able to continue in the years to come. I surely am sorry for the families involved. God bless them!
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:34 AM
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Grasshopper
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Very sad indeed. It's been a bad year for stunt pilots and wing walkers.
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:31 AM
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Don Sims
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A horrible, tragic, situation.
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:46 AM
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I watched the video about an hour ago amazing how fast that plane went into the crowd. Terrible tragedy to see and my heart goes out to the families.
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:04 AM
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Very sad, terrible tragedy and I along with all wish speedy recovery for the injured and heartfelt condolensces for the bereaved.

Having watched the two videos before censorship closed the links .. something must have been seriously wrong as the plane appears to go in at full speed after a steep climb and roll out at top. I believe that puill out and up is recc'd when a plane in the races is in trouble .. but his rolls and then dives in at seemingly full chat. For an experienced pilot despite his age ... something must have prevented his turning plane away ..

My Father was a senior UK Govt official who investigated commercial aircraft accidents / incidents .. and having listened to him all those years .. with this and there being very little airframe left - it literally disintegrated into shrapnel - it's going to be difficult to determine cause. maybe their was radio traffic, plus study of videos may draw some light on it.

Again my heart goes out to the ones who have lost friends and family.

Let us hope that this does not spell an end to Reno Races.
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Old 09-18-2011, 06:47 PM
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Glacier Girl
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Truly a black day for the sport and those involved in the accident.

On a side note, a T-28 was destroyed in a crash in WV at another air show, taking the pilot with it.
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:13 PM
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Photographic evidence is pointing toward an elevator trim tab failure which caused the plane to pull up. This happened before in 1998 to a P-51 racer called 'Voodoo Chilli' in that one the plane pulled up and recorded 10g, the pilot blacked out but luckily the plane went straight up and the pilot recovered consciousness at 9,000ft and was able to land safely. Sadly it seems that the same thing might have occurred this time but the plane rolled rather than going straight up, with horrific consequences.

The trim tab is clearly missing in some of the crash pictures:
http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news..._205385-1.html

Also in the final dive the tailwheel is extended which probably indicates very high 'g' has forced it to unlock.
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:42 PM
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Rabbitcreekok
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There was talk earlier in the year that this might be the last year for the Reno Air Races. This tragedy will probably cause that talk to come true.

The missing trim tab will probably be found as the cause of the accident. They will most likely find it on the course somewhere, probably around the pylon where the climb began. The tab was probably set to hold the elevator in neutral and when if flew off, the elevator snapped to a very large up elevator position, causing the climb. If the Jimmy Leeward blacked out, as did the other pilot, he could have easily rolled inverted and then into the tarmac. The roll to inverted was probably what took him toward the crowd.
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:35 PM
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This is a terrible accident, and I don't mean to minimize it, but it is a good thing the plane went in almost vertical.

Can you even imagine the death tole if the plane had gone in at a very shallow angle. At 300 mph, it would have slid for 500-1000 feet. If Jim had any control,he would have tried to minimize the injuries, by going down hard. There could be hundreds of people that owe their life to him and will never know it.
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:52 PM
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JetPlaneFlyer
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Wildflyer,
The strong likelihood judging from the photos and previous similar events is that after the initial high 'g' pull up the pilot blacked out and was a passenger up to the point of impact. The fact that the tailwheel was forced down proves that the plane exceeded it's normal g limit by a wide margin. Photos of the plane inverted seem to show a pilots helmet slumped forward against the instrument panel, and from the side view just prior to impact you can't see any helmet at all, indicating that Jim was either slumped right forward and/or the seat/harness had failed. Control surfaces in the photos can also clearly be seen to be pretty much neutral throughout indicating no obvious attempt of the pilot controlling the plane.

No doubt that if Jim had been in any condition to take avoiding action he would have done so but I honestly think that the fact that more people weren't killed and injured is just down to plain dumb luck, or you could argue that the fact anyone was hurt at all was down to plain bad luck, depending on how you view it.

It's very sad in any case, my thoughts go out to those effected.

Steve
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:47 AM
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gramps2361
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Originally Posted by Rabbitcreekok View Post
There was talk earlier in the year that this might be the last year for the Reno Air Races. This tragedy will probably cause that talk to come true.

The missing trim tab will probably be found as the cause of the accident. They will most likely find it on the course somewhere, probably around the pylon where the climb began. The tab was probably set to hold the elevator in neutral and when if flew off, the elevator snapped to a very large up elevator position, causing the climb. If the Jimmy Leeward blacked out, as did the other pilot, he could have easily rolled inverted and then into the tarmac. The roll to inverted was probably what took him toward the crowd.

If you look at some of the photos of the Mustang in the dive, and there are some good clear pictures popping up now. You can not see the pilot in the cockpit. Maybe he did black out.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:04 PM
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Rockin Robbins
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Johnny One-Star. Usual lack of judgment. This thread is not of no usefulness or interest to nearly all readers on Wattflyer. Since we are all aviation enthusiasts, this story is of great interest to just about all of us. As usual, fixed.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:54 AM
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Gee, I dunno, there are some interesting opinions here that may (or may not) give some hints as to what happened there. Everyone has seen the pics of the tab leaving, and we have had some videos shown here that completely explain Jim's theory.

I think your post requires some explanation; it's kinda sparse...
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Old 09-21-2011, 07:29 PM
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You talkin' to me? Maybe he's talkin' to ME!

Johnny One-Star (my name not his real name) pops into threads he has a beef with. Instead of contributing his ideas, he rates them one star: terrible. To me this means the thread is like spam, not connected with anything forum members are interested in, provides completely wrong information and is of no usefulness to anyone. Certainly this thread is of GREAT interest to us aviation addicts, has some of the latest theories of what happened (including the great photo of the tail wheel down), it's conducted with great respect to those who were killed, and is being discussed by knowledgeable posters.

That's a five star rating in my book, but some may not agree. It certainly rates four stars. Right now it sports three. How about voting it up to at least four!

I understand that a large number of SD memory cards were found in the wreckage. They were speculating or perhaps they knew that these cards were used in cameras mounted inside the plane which were used to analyze flights after the fact. Anybody heard anything more about those SD cards?

Edit: Okay, I've just spent some time scanning news reports and a couple of things are interesting here. We may be able to learn much more than we know now. First, there was "an outward-facing video camera on the plane." They've found pieces of the camera and hope that some of the SD cards might come from that camera.

In addition, "Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that the World War II-era plane was equipped with data and video recording devices that they hope to use to help determine what happened and why." The data was handled to a telemetry system and radioed to the ground in real time. The NTSB has the complete telemetry record of the flight, recording key flight parameters. They also have the trim tab that left the elevator in flight and many, many videos from the crowd which we have not seen yet. It also turns out that Jimmy Leeward did not make the Mayday call early news reports claimed. The best story I've found is at http://www.news4jax.com/news/29246967/detail.html.

So it looks like we have almost a certainty that we'll find a lot about what happened in this very tragic accident.

Last edited by Rockin Robbins; 09-21-2011 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:24 PM
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Yeah, I heard from a news flash that the plane had been fitted with a camera and some form of data logging device and the memory cards may contain that data (if they are still readable). If that's of much use to the investigation probably depends what way the camera was pointing and what parameters the logger was recording. Being a racer I'd bet that the logger was recording engine parameters rather than control surface deflection or 'g' loading. If I'm right i don't know how useful it will be, it could help to at least rule out some possibilities i guess.

Apparently there is supposed to be a preliminary report issued on Friday but i don't suppose it will be conclusive at this early stage.

Steve
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