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  #1  
Old 10-25-2021, 12:39 PM
gmcjetpilot's Avatar
gmcjetpilot gmcjetpilot is offline
 
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Default Sad Story of Pilot New to EAB Kit Planes Crashes 1st Flight (No One Hurt)

So I just got done going over the story of a guy who buys a Zenith 750 Cruiser and crashes it on first flight. He and his passenger were OK. The passenger was a more experienced pilot asked to come along by new owner to help fly it back home a few states away. However this Zenith had single controls, so the experienced pilot was along for the ride. The new owner/pilot had experience only in small lower HP fixed gear Cessna and Pipers. He elected to not get transition training or even a familiarity flight. He had gone for rides in one or two other Zeniths as a passenger with different engines, but no actual meaningful experience.

The first flight they did almost no preflight, no W&B and not super familiar with the plane's avionics. They took off down wind a minute or two after start. The takeoff and climb out was normal (there is a video). They elected to return to airport a short time later, to sort out their navigation (day VFR, they had EFIS, iPads and phones etc). The first approach they did a go around. 2nd time same thing go around. The 3rd time stalled it about 10 feet above the ground, left wing hit, full power applied (causing it to roll left more) and they went for a ride into a water retention pound near the runway. It flipped and they were not hurt.

The new owner made a bunch of observations and excuses. One the plane was uncontrollable on takeoff, stating at 75% power he needed 50% rudder. OK a light plane, powerful motor (for this size and weight plane), P-factor, Slip Stream, Torque, pression, kind of normal. Never the less a P-51 has too much power as well. This guy said this plane had too much HP and was dangerous. Many of course many are flying this make/model with this 135 HP Honda engine. A Cessna and Piper with longer rudder moment arm, steerable nose wheel is different than a Zenith for sure.

After the accident he realized he was over max gross. He realized the empty weight was much higher than the generic one Zenith publishes for smaller engine installation. The new owner/PIC never did a W&B and jumped in. He goes on to say the Certified planes he flew he never had to worry about W&B. Oh really? Any small GA plane will all seats full of adults, full fuel are near or over gross, much less baggage. Not until you get to the higher HP planes can you fill the seats comfortably within gross wt. limits. C152/172. Cherokee/Warrior all had limits to payload. Never the less he later observed that his plane weighed almost 200 lbs more than the generic empty weight published by Zenith, in part due to the automotive engine package. This he felt severely limited his payload and not being practical for his 230lb weight. He was right there. He is figuring all this out after he bought it and crashed it. Also I did not know the Zenith 750 Cruiser has 48 gallon capacity. So when flying with passenger and bags, partial fuel is always in order with this plane unless the pilot and passenger are super svelte Swedish bikini models with baggage only having a spare bikini in it. Ha ha. (Hey a guy can dream)

The conclusion by the owner is EAB Kit planes are un safe and don't have to meet any regulations or standards. You will be surprised when I say he has a point about safety... Of course there are regulations and standards, just not Part 23. If you look at the statistics EAB's are a little more prone to crashes. Most of that is people like his Gentleman crashing a good plane. However his salient point is Experimental planes are different than the Cessna's and Piper's he flew. True.

Also he goes on to say he is only going to buy a Certified plane from now on. Yes they are all the same and standardized made by a manufacture to Part 23. Experimental planes are amateur built. Of course a Zenith or Van's kits are high quality and standardized which helps. However when it comes to engines, props, panels, systems the sky is the limit. Workmanship is another issue.

So please help folks who want to transition into an experimental built EAB planes with a reality check. Strongly recommend they don't fly without training. The WHOLE idea of EAB planes was EDUCATION, not an alternative to factory planes. When you build you learn a lot. Now that they became so prolific and popular with easy to build high quality kits (resulting in very desirable and expensive planes fetching more than a factory built plane and now a commodity), many folks are buying them like they would a Cessna or Piper. This is why experimental planes are less safe.... mostly to do with training and experience issues. Accident rates is a whole other topic.

Even if you built it, if you have no experience in this type of plane, or even recent experience not flying much as you built, by all means get some transition training. Many people don't and get away with it, build experience and all is well. However too many times it does not work out. The incident or accident with people flying new planes (even certified ones) is totally preventable with training and some initial experienced with an instructor. So many accidents of people buying a plane they never flew and flying it home and having an accident.
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Last edited by gmcjetpilot : 10-25-2021 at 08:10 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2021, 01:36 PM
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n82rb n82rb is offline
 
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Location: fort myers fl
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcjetpilot View Post
So I just got done going over the story of a guy who buys a Zenith 750 Cruiser and crashes it on first flight. He and his passenger were OK. The passenger was a more experience pilot asked to come along by new owner to help fly it back home a few states away. However this Zenith had single controls, so the experienced pilot was along for the ride. The new owner and pilot had experience only in small lower HP fixed gear Cessna and Pipers. He elected to not get transition training or even a familiarity flight. He had gone for rides one or two other Zeniths as a passenger with different engines, but no actual meaningful experience.

The first flight they did almost no preflight, no W&B and not super familiar with avionics. They took off down wind a minute or two after start. They elected to return to sort out their navigation (day VFR, they had iPads and phones etc). The first approach they did a go around. 2nd time same thing go around. The 3rd time stalled it about 10 feet above the ground, left wing hit, full power applied (causing it to roll left more) and they went for a ride into a water retention pound near the runway. It flipped and they were not hurt.

The new owner made a bunch of observations and excuses. One the plane was uncontrollable on takeoff, stating at 75% power he needed 50% rudder. OK a light plane, free castor nose wheel, powerful motor (for this size and weight plane), P-factor, Slip Stream, Torque, pression, kind of normal. Never the less a P-51 has too much power as well. This guy said this plane had too much HP. Many of course are flying with this 135 HP Honda engine. A Cessna and Piper with longer rudder moment arm, steerable nose wheel is different.

After the accident he realized he was over max gross. He realized the empty weight was much higher than the generic one Zenith publishes for a smaller engine. The new owner and PIC never did a W&B and jumped in. He goes on to say the Certified planes he flew he never had to worry about W&B. Oh really? Any small GA plane will all seats full of adults, full fuel are near or over gross. Not until you get to the higher HP planes can you fill the seats comfortably. C152/172. Cherokee/Warrior all had limits to payload. Never the less he later observed that his plane weighed almost 200 lbs more than the generic empty weight published by Zenith, in part due to the automotive engine package. This he felt severalty limiting his payload and not being practical for his 230lb weight. He is figuring all this out after he bought it and crashed it. Also I did not know the Zenith 750 Cruiser has 48 gallon capacity. So when flying with passenger and bags, partial fuel is always in order with this plane unless the pilot and passenger are super svelte Swedish bikini models with their baggage only having a spare bikini in it. Ha ha. (Hey a guy can dream)

The conclusion by the owner is EAB Kit planes are un safe and don't have to meet any regulations or standards. You will be surprised when I say he has a point about safety... Of course there are regulations and standards, just not Part 23. If you look at the statistics EAB's are a little more prone to crashes. Most of that is people like his Gentleman crashing a good plane. However his salient point is Experimental planes are different than the Cessna's and Piper's he flew. True.

Also he goes on to say he is only going to buy a Certified plane from now on. Yes they are all the same and standardized made by a manufacture to Part 23. Experimental planes are amateur built. Of course a Zenith or Van's kits are high quality and standardized which helps. However when it comes to engines, props, panels, systems the sky is the limit. Workmanship is another issue.

So please help folks who want to transition into an experimental built EAB planes with a reality check. The WHOLE idea of EAB planes was EDUCATION, not an alternative to factory planes. When you build you learn a lot. Now that they became so prolific and popular with easy to build high quality kits (resulting in very desirable and expensive plane fetching more than a factory built plane and now a commodity), many folks are buying them like they would a Cessna or Piper. This is why experimental planes are less safe.... mostly to do with training and experience issues.

Even if you built it, if you have no experience in this type of plane, or even recent experience not flying much as you built, by all means get some transition training. Many people don't and get away with it. Build experience and all is well. However too many times it does not work out and totally preventable with training and some initial experienced with an instructor.

Also he goes on to say he is only going to buy a Certified plane from now on.

that's if he has a certificate after the 709 ride that he will probably get after the feds hear of his extensive pre-flight.
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2021, 01:45 PM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
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Default

Methinks the type of cert on the plane was not the issue, but the quals of the pilot.
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  #4  
Old 10-25-2021, 02:04 PM
rcsilvmac rcsilvmac is offline
 
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Location: NorCal
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Default My opinion

I have seen a number of videos related to this incident, including the one published by the PIC. He made a large number of poor decisions, resulting in the accident you describe, then slinged mud wherever he to could to shift blame. IMHO the fact that the plane was experimental wasn't really a factor here. Any plane new to the PIC requires careful consideration of "all factors" pertaining to that flight before you take off.

I appreciate you writing this up as we should strive to learn from incidents like these.
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  #5  
Old 10-25-2021, 02:15 PM
jrs14855 jrs14855 is offline
 
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Default Accident

He is probably a charter member of the club that is somehow able to "groundloop" Cessna 172' and Cherokee's etc on wide paved runways.
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  #6  
Old 10-25-2021, 03:54 PM
PhatRV PhatRV is offline
 
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Location: Buena Park, California
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Default

The airplane was powered by the Viking (Honda) engine. There is a Youtube video by someone should be known in VAF forum. While this isn't about the Viking engine, you can glean a lot of the decision making process from the interchange between the PIC and the video author. The last bit of the video was the PIC flying the airplane at another time. Seems to be a good flying EAB aircraft.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6TMqYfnpWg
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  #7  
Old 10-25-2021, 04:15 PM
MED MED is offline
 
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Let’s see - no transition training, passenger on first flight, over gross. I wonder how his insurance company will view this . . . Oh, wait . . .
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  #8  
Old 10-25-2021, 04:26 PM
Taltruda Taltruda is offline
 
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I watched the video by the engine guy. Then the accident pilot.. seems the accident pilot is blaming everyone else.. too much power, not enough engine offset, locked controls etc.. good thing he was such a great pilot that he was able to get that deathtrap thing on the ground and put it out of its misery!
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2021, 04:56 PM
rapid_ascent rapid_ascent is offline
 
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Default

It's funny about the W&B part of this. I've been pondering buying an LSA or some not too expensive but still capable plane to fly while I finish my RV7A. One of the real limitations of these planes is the limited weight they can carry within CG limits. Some show examples with limited fuel or no baggage but I want to be able to carry 2, full fuel and some baggage. I've gone through these calculations on a few planes now. Guess where that leads... to our very own RV-12.
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  #10  
Old 10-25-2021, 05:21 PM
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Mel Mel is offline
 
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Default Let me ruffle some feathers....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapid_ascent View Post
It's funny about the W&B part of this. I've been pondering buying an LSA or some not too expensive but still capable plane to fly while I finish my RV7A. One of the real limitations of these planes is the limited weight they can carry within CG limits. Some show examples with limited fuel or no baggage but I want to be able to carry 2, full fuel and some baggage. I've gone through these calculations on a few planes now. Guess where that leads... to our very own RV-12.
The original intent of LSA was for a simple aircraft for fun, day VFR, weekend flying. But now days everyone wants full IFR instrumentation, auto pilot, heavy leather interior, kitchen sink, etc. Then they complain about no room left for baggage.

If you want to fly cross country, IFR at night, in comfort, there are other categories available. There's Experimental Amateur-Built, and Certified to name a couple.

Flame suit on!!!
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Last edited by Mel : 10-25-2021 at 05:23 PM.
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