Jodel and EUROFOX vs sheep, orbit distraction, and Airprox reports
Aircraft Type: Jodel DR1050M Excellence Date & Time: 24 September 2017 at 1730 Commander’s Flying Experience: PPL, 144 hours, 19 on type Last 90 days: 25 hours Last 28 days: 5 hours The pilot had completed a tailwheel aircraft conversion course earlier that day and was returning to Headcorn from a consolidation flight around the local area. His first approach to Rwy 10 was made in a light south-easterly wind, but he went around prior to touchdown because he was not confident of a satisfactory landing. Following a further circuit he set the aircraft down onto the runway but then sensed that its groundspeed was faster, and the landing run longer, than he had expected, possibly due to an element of tailwind. He had difficulty maintaining directional control and sensed that a gust of wind caused the aircraft to turn left. Aware that he was now heading towards the side of the runway, he initiated a baulked landing by advancing the throttle and applying right rudder but despite his efforts the aircraft continued to turn left, departed the runway and accelerated over an adjacent area of mown grass.
The pilot saw a wire fence and trees ahead but managed to lift off, heading for a clear area between the trees. As the aircraft approached the fence he thought he had gained sufficient airspeed and pulled the nose up to climb over the fence. Although the mainwheels did not appear to make contact, he heard the underside of the fuselage rub the wire and the tailwheel was snagged momentarily, turning the aircraft further left and causing the nose to drop. It then touched down again on the far side of the fence and crossed an adjacent field at high power, striking three sheep in its path. It then crossed a stream and came to rest in an overgrown hedgerow. The pilot was uninjured but two of the sheep were killed.
The airfield’s CCTV system showed the aircraft touching down on its mainwheels only some 40% of the way along the 1,250m runway and adjacent to a windsock, which was hanging limp. After approximately 250m the tailwheel made ground contact and it began to turn left. The right wing then lifted and the Jodel headed towards the left side of the runway and out of the camera’s field of view. Recorded wind at the time of the accident was from approximately 110º at less than 5kt and there was no indication of any large fluctuation in the wind direction throughout the afternoon or early evening.
After gaining his licence on nosewheel types, the pilot started tailwheel differences training on another Jodel type six months before the accident. He later switched to the accident aircraft on which he had nineteen instructional hours. On the morning of the accident he had had about 2.5hrs of dual training, in a wind that was gusting up to 14kt, before the instructor signed-off his differences training.
The pilot initially thought that a tailwind component increased his groundspeed, but later decided that his approach speed might have been faster than the circumstances required as the aircraft was relatively light and there was little wind. He recalled that, during the landing, he thought the aircraft was going to balloon if he raised the nose, but he had not appreciated that only the mainwheels were on the ground, which probably explained why he thought there were directional control ‘difficulties’ and he realised the left turn was not initiated by a gust of wind but more likely occurred when the tailwheel eventually made ground contact. In retrospect he concluded that he should have initiated a go-around or baulked landing sooner, and that, by trying to take off again when he was heading towards the side of the runway, the outcome had probably been worse than if he had stopped the aircraft, even if this had led to a ground loop.
The Airprox Board assessed sixteen incidents during its December meeting. Eleven were aircraft-to-aircraft incidents, of which six were assessed as having a definite risk of collision (Two Category A in which ‘providence played a major role’, and four Category B in which safety was much reduced due to serendipity, misjudgement, inaction, or late sighting.)
‘Flawed situational awareness and associated inappropriate actions (or inaction) were this month’s predominant themes,’ the Board reports. ‘Seven incidents could have been prevented if information had been assimilated and acted upon in a timely manner. Within these, four involved lack of, or poor communication of, traffic information or intentions. As a fundamentally human endeavour, aviation relies on pilots and controllers forming a correct mental model of their environment, and if this becomes compromised then inappropriate or misjudged decisions can quickly lead to situations of close proximity where see-and-avoid becomes the sole remaining barrier to collision.
‘Similarly, five incidents saw suboptimal planning or poor execution of procedures. More thorough pre-flight planning would have averted these Airprox by increasing situational awareness. Procedures were in place to assist, but the pilots were either not aware of them or did not fully apply them to best advantage. Selection of a more appropriate Air Traffic Service would probably have improved matters in another three incidents, and lack of SSR from one or both aircraft also influenced three events where the other aircraft or ATC could have reacted had they known that the non-transponding aircraft was there.’
Airprox of the month involved a Category A incident in which an Airbus Helicopters EC130 came into proximity with a Kitfox departing downwind from a small strip near Dunsfold as the helicopter flew past. ‘Neither pilot saw the other beforehand, and the incident highlighted the busy nature of airspace in that area; the advisability of flying above 1,500ft if possible during transits in that area, the fact that the Kitfox pilot had not selected his transponder on, which may otherwise have alerted Farnborough (and any Tas-equipped aircraft) to his presence as he got airborne.’ Full details of this and other incidents examined by the Airprox Board can be found at airproxboard.org.uk.
Safety analyst ‘Bob’ Breiling
American aviation safety specialist Robert E Breiling died in February, aged 88.
‘Bob’ Breiling is renowned worldwide for his pioneering safety data collection and analysis, which he began in the 1960s, when turbine-powered business aircraft first became available. Then, he worked
for an aviation insurance underwriter, but later founded his own company, producing detailed quarterly and annual summaries of incidents and accidents, and presented his findings at the Flight Safety Foundation’s annual Business Aviation Safety Seminars from the mid-1960s until 2000. Three years ago the International Business Aviation Council purchased Robert E Breiling Associates to continue his work in enhancing business aviation safety by identifying those areas of highest risk. An ex-us Navy pilot who had flown the earliest carrier-borne jets, ‘Bob’ Breiling then served with Pan American World Airways before joining the insurance industry.
“Bob Breiling’s legacy is his dedicated and detailed research and analysis of business aircraft accidents,” said National Business Aviation Association President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Bolen. “As the preeminent business aviation safety data expert, Breiling helped promote standards that have led to improvements in safety and training.”
A Jodel DR1050 Excellence similar to the accident aircraft
In this Category A Airprox incident, neither aircraft saw the other beforehand
Bob Breiling pionered safety data collection and analysis for business aviation