FAA Issues Safety Warning for Homemade Planes

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by ToughOmbre, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    The Federal Aviation Administration warned pilots that the Lancair, which is built from kits, and others like it are apt to stall at speeds higher that 61 mph.

    WASHINGTON -- High-performance homemade planes like the one that killed a beach jogger last week in South Carolina are prone to stall, especially when going slower while waiting to land, and have been involved in a disproportionately large number of fatal accidents, federal officials warned Thursday.

    The Federal Aviation Administration said in a safety advisory to pilots that the Lancair, which is built from kits, and others like it have design characteristics that allow the planes to fly much faster than most small planes. However, the agency says, those characteristics can also "expose pilots to additional risk during slowspeed operations while close to the ground and with little time to recover from an unintentional stall."

    The agency also cautioned that since the planes are built by amateurs each one "may have unique flight handling characteristics."

    An FAA analysis found that the planes have experienced fatal accident rates substantially higher than other small, personal use planes, including other types of planes made from kits, the advisory said.

    Lancair kits are made by Lancair International Inc. of Redmond, Ore.

    Joseph Bartels, owner of Lancair, said the planes won't stall if they are constructed and operated according to the company's specifications and FAA regulations. The problem, he said, is that pilots sometimes fly the planes at speeds slower than they are designed to fly.

    Pilots should know a plane's speed limits since that information is provided, Bartels said.

    The company's Web sites says it has sold 1,870 plane kits in 34 countries. The planes include both turbine and piston engine models, some capable of speeds up to 370 mph. A typical small plane is capable of speeds about 150 mph.

    Pharmaceutical salesman Robert Gary Jones, 38, was listening to music while jogging on a Hilton Head Island beach when he was struck and killed by a Lancair. The plane took off from Orlando, Fla., and was en route to Virginia when it started leaking oil. The pilot was trying to land on the beach when the craft struck Jones. The pilot and a passenger walked away from the accident.

    Eighty-two people in the U.S. were killed in 2008 in accidents involving planes built from kits, according the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association's safety foundation. Kit-built planes accounted for 18 percent of noncommercial plane accidents that year even though they logged less than 5 percent of the flight time, the foundation said.

    The accident rate for kit aircraft, including amateur-built helicopters, is more than seven times higher than for other noncommercial aircraft, the foundation said.

    Dick Knapinski, a spokesman for the Experimental Aircraft Association, disagreed with the foundation's calculations, saying there were fewer home-built aircraft accidents than portrayed.

    TO
     
  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Saw that accident. Sad that guy got run over and kiled. Heard he had a couple of kids.

    As a rule of thumb, unless you are going into a short field or are slow flight, don't screw around low and slow. Just don't. It's not healthy, even if you airplane isn't kitbuilt. Speed and altitude is your friend. And if you don't have one, get the other.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    This report is total bullsh!t. I could say the same thing about any high performance aircraft built by a certificated manufacturer. This is just another way for those working in the FAA, who doesn’t understand the aircraft they are supposed to keep oversight over to cover their butts.

    "Pilots should know a plane's speed limits since that information is provided."

    What is so friggin hard about that?!?!?!?!?

    Once again the FAA has proven it has the compassion of the IRS while operating with the efficiency of the US Postal Service.
     
  4. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    I posted this story just for you Joe. :lol:

    I'm certainly not nearly as knowledgeable as you in this area, but it sounds like bullsh*t to me as well.

    TO
     
  5. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Is it CYA season already?
     
  6. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Gee TO, you really know how the get me worked up!
     
  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Flyboy, in pilot school, isn't one of the first lessons they teach you is "know your airplane and its operational parameters"?

    (yes I am being sarcastic)
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Yep! :lol:

    I guess IT'S NOT the first thing they teach some folks at the FAA when they go to the academy at OKC!
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    And you know they'll work the fatality angle, about how many people were killed in aircraft related incidents.

    Naturally, they won't compare how many people were killed in auto wrecks in the same time period, but just imagine the public outcry if the NTSB tried to crack down on private automobile ownership...
     
  11. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Slow speeds may resulting in stalling?!?! Isn't that one of the basic rules drilled into a pilot's head in training? You guys nailed, it's the FAA CYA policy.
     
  12. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    It isn't just the FAA its every agency and business covering their asses because of the litigious nature of some societies. Proof is the word Hot on a cup of MacDonalds coffee .
     
  13. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Clearly the jogger being killed by the aircraft doing an emergency landing was a tragic accident, but what the design has to do with an engine leaking oil is a bit beyond me. Assuming the pilot messed up the emergency landing by stalling, it was a mistake, but a common one with any pilot who hasn't practiced emergency landings, again nothing to do with the stalling speed or the design.
     
  14. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    More ludicrousness of the FAA.
     
  15. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    One of the best rides I ever had was in a Lancair.......... When the guy built it he had very sharp trailing edges on the wings and ailerons. Felt like a fighter flying that thing. We were doing about 200mph about 60 feet off the ground thru a valley, then puled up into a victory roll...... it was FANtastic. When I took my basic flight lessons was in a 150D model, it was fun keeping the nose up, letting the horn sound continuously, that was my task that day, never let the horn quit and keep the nose on the horizon. I loved learning to fly! Cheers, Bill
     
  16. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    That's a very good point.
     
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