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Published on Aug 5, 2009
Shorter version is posted here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64w--j... If you're wondering why I posted the whole video and not just the accident, it's because if you watch the whole thing you can easily put yourself in the airplane and almost feel what they went through. It's definitely worth the 7 minutes of time to get a sense of what happened here and maybe learn something and fly safer as a result.
Cessna L-19 Bird Dog pilot leaves himself no escape route and crashes killing himself and his friend in the back. He stalls the airplane at least 3 times in the last few seconds of flight and each time it stalls he pulls the stick back. Lets see, I teach my students to add full power and decrease the angle of attack. Since this pilot was already at full power he had only one thing to do to gain airspeed. PUSH FORWARD on the stick. Also his bank angle was about 60 degrees in the last portion of the turn. Stall speed, as indicated on the airspeed indicator, increases with bank angle. This is because in a turn, to maintain altitude, the angle of attack has to be increased by pulling the stick back. The reason for this is the plane loses some vertical component of lift, the amount depends on the bank angle. 60 degrees of bank requires the wing to produce twice the lift, to maintain altitude, as that needed to fly straight and level. Ie: gross weight is say 2300 lbs. 60 degrees of bank means the wing has to produce 4600 lbs. of lift just to maintain altitude, and that assumes the tail is not producing a down force which is almost never the case. Some airspeed is also lost to do this and if you're already at full power then you need to determine if you can push the nose down to maintain airspeed. In this case the pilot was at about 10,000 ft MSL but only a few hundred feet AGL. He had no altitude to spare to accomplish this safely at the bank angle he chose. I believe he could have made the turn to the left and less bank and came out of this terrible situation alive.